A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun,
thereby obscuring Earth's view of the Sun totally or partially. This
configuration can only occur at the New Moon phase, when the Sun and
Moon are in conjunction, as seen from the Earth. In ancient times, and
in some countries today, solar eclipses are arrtibuted mythical
properties. Total solar eclipses are very rare events for a given
place on Earth. This is because totality is only visible where the
umbra of the Moon touches the Earth's surface. Some people travel to
the most remote places imaginable to observe eclipses. A total solar
eclipse is considered by them to be the most spectacular natural
phenomenon that one can observe. The 1999 total eclipse in Europe,
which was without doubt the most watched eclipse in human history,
helped to increase public awareness of the phenomenon. This was
illustrated by many people willing to make the displacement to witness
the 2005 annular eclipse and the 2006 total eclipse. The next total
solar eclipse will be the Solar eclipse of August 1, 2008.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
French Revolution: The Estates-General convened in Versailles to
discuss a financial crisis in France.
Cinco de Mayo in Mexico: Troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza halted a
French invasion in the Battle of Puebla.
Cy Young of the Boston Americans pitched the first perfect game in the
modern era of baseball.
The Council of Europe was formed.
Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned in Bangkok as King Rama IX of
Thailand, currently the world's longest-serving head of state.
Wikiquote of the day:
"Once you label me you negate me." -- Søren Kierkegaard