January 15th will herald the first annular solar eclipse of the year, also the longest in the millennium.

Ajay Talwar of the Amateur Astronomers Association told IANS, “Not only will this eclipse be the first of the year but also the longest of the third millennium, that is between 2001 and 3000. In India it will start at around 11 a.m. and end at around 3 p.m.”

“The eclipse will first be seen in south of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and then travel obliquely to Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, where it will enjoy the best view. It will then travel to Kerala and end in Mizoram in the northeast,” he said.

The rest of India will see the eclipse only partially, Talwar added.

According to a post on the site of NASA: “On Jan 15, an annular eclipse of the sun is visible from within a 300 km wide track that traverses half of earth. The path of the moon’s antumbral shadow begins in Africa and passes through Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia.

“After leaving Africa, the path crosses the Indian Ocean where the maximum duration of annularity reaches 11 minutes 8 seconds. The central path then continues into Asia through Bangladesh, India, Burma (Myanmar) and China.” he added.

According to Talwar, the eclipse will last the maximum in Rameshwaram - 10 minutes and eight seconds.

“As the eclipse passes through different places after that, the duration will lessen. In Kanyakumari, the eclipse will be for around nine minutes and so on,” Talwar said.

“Also, the eclipse will begin at different times in different places. It will be a long eclipse,” he added.

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