Thursday, July 31, 2008

Solar Eclipse on Friday: Where, How to See It -Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipses have been blamed in the past for war, famine, and the deaths of kings. But the upcoming total eclipse on Friday, August 1, will mostly be celebrated by excited sky-watchers—even if it won't break any records.

The sun will be completely obscured for just under two and a half minutes, "a tad on the short side," according to astrophysicist Fred Espenak, an eclipse expert based at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

A typical eclipse lasts for three minutes, Espenak said, and the longest possible is seven and a half minutes.

When it starts, this year's full eclipse will be visible from a narrow arc spanning the Northern Hemisphere.

Its path will begin in Canada and continue northeast across Greenland and the Arctic, then southeast through central Russia, Mongolia, and China.

Before moving east, the eclipse will start over far-northern Canada around 8:30 a.m. Greenwich mean time (or about 4:30 a.m. eastern time). The eclipse will reach totality—when the sun is totally hidden by the moon—in just under an hour.

In a much wider swath of the globe—including northeastern North America along with most of Europe and Asia—people will be able to see a partial eclipse.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hurricane Dolly May Hit Texas

Tropical Storm Dolly headed on Monday for the southern Texas coast where it might become a hurricane later this week, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm, with winds of nearly 50 mph (85 kph), emerged from the Yucatan Peninsula over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane watch was issued for the southern portion of the Texas coast.

The watch, which means hurricane conditions can be expected within 36 hours, was issued from Brownsville north to Port O'Connor, the hurricane center said.

Dolly dumped rain on popular tourists resorts on Mexico's Caribbean coast overnight but caused no damage.

The United States has got off lightly for the past two Atlantic hurricane seasons, with just one hurricane -- Humberto in November 2007 -- making landfall in the United States.

But it was pummeled in 2004 and 2005, when a series of powerful hurricanes, including Katrina, ravaged Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

About Dolly

The name Dolly has been used for seven tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean.

1953's Hurricane Dolly - strong storm that lost intensity rapidly, passed over Bermuda but caused minor damage.

1954's Hurricane Dolly - small storm that remained far from land.

1968's Hurricane Dolly - moved parallel about 125 miles off the East Coast of the United States but did not hit land.

1974's Tropical Storm Dolly - weak storm that did not strike land.

1996's Hurricane Dolly - formed in Caribbean, made landfall at Quintana Roo, Mexico and again at Tamaulipas, Mexico, killing fourteen and destroying hundreds of homes.

2002's Tropical Storm Dolly - formed west of Africa and tracked northwest, never threatened land.

2008's Tropical Storm Dolly - a currently active tropical storm