N

Fig. / 2,b : Region of visibility of the solar eclipse of 2003 November 23, which will take place one Saros after that of 1985 November 12. The lunar shadow moves from left to right in the drawing. Total eclipse is seen between the two parallel solid curves passing over Antarctica. The northern limit of this path is actually closer to the South Pole than the southern limit. The dashed lines are the curves of constant eclipse magnitude (at maximum eclipse): from north to south 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8, respectively.

2026 Greenland Eclipse
Fig. 12.c: Region of visibility of the solar eclipse of 2026 August 12.

But this is not yet the end of the story. In the figure above the region of visibility of the solar eclipse of 2026 August 12 is shown. This event is seen as a total eclipse between the two parallel solid lines which cross Greenland and Spain. This path passes close to the North Pole, where the maximum magnitude is 0.986.

The central line of this eclipse begins at sunrise in northern Siberia, at latitude 75° north. After reaching the maximum northern latitude of 87°53\ the central line passes southward over Greenland. After reaching the westernmost longitude of 28° west, the central line runs southeastward, passes over Spain, and ends at sunset in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, at latitude 39° north.

The first oddity is what we already described above : near the North Pole, what is astronomically the southern limit of the path of totality, is geographically the northern one (because there it lies closer to the North Pole than the northern limit). But now there is a second oddity: in Spain the (astronomically) southern limit has correctly become the southern limit geographically!

Still another oddness occurs in the polar regions when an eclipse is total or annular at the pole itself. Between A.D. 1900 and 2100, this happens on the following dates: 1917 December 14 (annular at the South Pole), 1939 April 19 (annular at the North Pole), 2021 June 10 (annular at the North Pole), 2094 January 16 (total at the South Pole), and 2097 November 4 (annular at the South Pole).

Fig. 12.d: Area of visibility of the solar eclipse of 1917 December 14. The lunar umbra moves from the lefi to the right in the drawing. The path of annular eclipse crossed Antarctica and passed exactly over the South Pole.

Now look at Figure 12.e. The shaded area represents the path of total (or annular) eclipse passing over the South Pole S. Start from point A, and go southward along the meridian. Then limit a is reached before arriving at 5, so a is geographically the northern limit of the path. But now start at B, and go southward along the meridian. Then limit h is reached before you arrive at S, so b is geographically a northern limit of the path too. Consequently, in the vicinity of the pole S both a and b are northern limits of the path of totality! (But, of course, astronomically speaking, one of the limits is to be considered as being the northern one, and the other as the southern).

Concerning the annular eclipse of 1917 December 14, one reads the following on page 402 of the excellent Text-Book on Spherical Astronomy by W, M. Smart (Cambridge University Press, England; edition of 1956):

"In 1917, within a few days of Dec. 21, an annular eclipse of the sun took place, visible near the South Pole. According to the Nautical Almanac the eclipse was exactly central at midnight in Latitude 89°57' S, Longitude 142° W. According to the Connaissance des Temps the eclipse was central at noon also in Latitude 89°57'S, but in Longitude 38 E. Show that the difference between the two statements would be accounted for if one almanac

had made its calculations for the sea-level, and the other for a plateau about 15,000 feet above sea-level. Show also that the difference would be accounted for if the positions of the moon adopted by the two almanacs differed by about 2W in declination, the moan's parallax being 57'."

According to my calculation, using modern data, central eclipse took place at local apparent midnight, at 9J,23m14a UT, in longitude 142° West and latitude 89°57' South. This is for sea-level, and in the calculation of the Besselian elements of the eclipse a correction of — 0".6 has been applied to the Moon's latitude to make allowance for the fact that the center of figure of the Moon does not exactly coincide with its center of mass.

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