July 22, 2009, brought the longest total solar eclipse that Earth will witness in the 21st century. Visible within a narrow band snaking across Asia and the Pacific Ocean, the totality of the eclipse lasted up to six minutes and 39 seconds, a duration that will not be surpassed until 2132. At Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where the first hydrogen bomb was tested by the U.S. in 1952, the totality lasted more than five and a half minutes.
Miloslav Druckmüller, a mathematician at the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues were on Enewetak as the eclipse's shadow raced toward them from the northwest at more than twice the speed of sound. This composite of 31 images from the eclipse shows the solar corona, the wispy "atmosphere" of the sun peeking out from behind the moon as well as the cratered, rayed surface of the moon itself.
Druckmüller, who specializes in eclipse photography, wrote a 2006 article for Scientific American explaining some strategies for capturing such phenomena. But aspiring eclipse shutterbugs will have to wait—the path of the next total solar eclipse, in July, will barely touch land, and the occultation of November 2012 will just graze northern Australia. The next total solar eclipse with significant land coverage will cross Indonesia in 2016.
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