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Tue 22 Jul 2008 03:21 PM

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IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse

IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Several UAE cities will witness a partial solar eclipse on Friday between 9:15 AM and 12:26 PM, reaching its peak at 10:46 AM.(Getty Images)
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
The eclipse will start in Abu Dhabi and move on to Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, newswire WAM reported on Thursday.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
The longest duration for a total solar eclipse is 7.5 minutes. A total solar eclipse is not noticable until the sun is more than 90 percent covered by the Moon. At 99 percent coverage, daytime lighting resembles local twilight.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Eclipse shadows travel at 1,100 miles per hour at the equator and up to 5,000 miles per hour near the poles.\n

The maximum number of solar eclipses (partial, annular, or total) is five per year and there are at least two solar eclipses per year somewhere on the Earth.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Total solar eclipses happen about once every 1.5 years. Nearly identical eclipses (total, annual, or partial) occur after 18 years and 11 days, or every 6,585.32 days, known as the Saros Cycle.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
The Saros Cycle exists because it takes 18 years and 10 days for the entire orbit of the Moon to move once around in its orbit plane so that the lunar nodes make one complete revolution along the orbit. Because the true length of the Saros Cycle is 6,585.32 days, you have to wait three Saros Cycles in order for an eclipse to repeat at the same spot on Earth.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Light filtering through leaves on trees casts crescent shadows as totality approaches.\n

Local animals and birds often prepare for sleep or behave confusedly during totality.\n

Local temperatures often drop 20 degrees or more near totality.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Successive eclipses in the Saros Cycle happen 1/3 of the way around the world from each other, and after three Saros Cycles, the eclipse returns to nearly the same geographic location after 54 years and 33 days.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Every eclipse begins at sunrise at some point in its track and ends at sunset about half way around the world from the start point. Partial solar eclipses can be seen up to 3,000 miles from the track of totality.
IN PICS: Your guide to solar eclipse
Before the advent of modern atomic clocks, studies of ancient records of solar eclipses allowed astronomers to detect a 0.001 second per century slowing down in Earth's rotation.