Mumbai, July 21 : Did you know animals and birds often prepare for sleep or behave confusedly during total solar eclipse? Well, here are some other little known facts about solar eclipse.

- The longest recorded duration for a total solar eclipse is 7.5 minutes.

- A total solar eclipse will not be visible until the sun is more than 90 percent covered by the moon.

- When the sun is covered 99 percent, day becomes night in the areas where the eclipse is visible.

- In the 5,000-year period - between 2000 BC and 3000 AD - the earth is supposed to witness 11,898 solar eclipses.

- There can be a maximum total five solar eclipses, partial, annular or total in any year, and there are at least two solar eclipses every year somewhere on the earth.

- Total solar eclipses occur once every year or two years and only during a new moon.

- Every eclipse begins at sunrise at some point in its track and ends at sunset about half way around the globe from the starting point. Wednesday's total solar eclipse will start at sunrise in India and end at sunset in the eastern hemisphere.

- Nearly identical eclipses (total, annular or partial) occur after every 18 years and 11 days, called the Saros Cycle.

- During a solar eclipse, moon shadow travels at a speed of 1770.28 km per hour at the equator and up to 8,046.73 kmph at the north and south poles.

- During an eclipse, the moon's shadow is at the most 273.59 km wide, and in the path of totality, local temperatures can drop by as much as 20 degrees Celsius during a total solar eclipse.

- Prior to the advent of modern atomic clocks, studies of ancient records of solar eclipses enabled astronomers to detect a 0.001 second per century slowing down in earth's rotation.

(Information courtesy Akash Ganga Centre for Astronomy, Mumbai)


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