Please note that you are viewing the old Science in Africa website. Please see for our new site!

Science in AfricaLogo Merck: Distributors of fine chemicals and apparatus. Enter here for more information.
April 2004



Partial Eclipse of the Sun - April 19 2004

Case Rijsdijk

In the southern African skies this month, look out for a partial eclipse of the Sun on April 19. Because the cone of the Moon's shadow will miss the Earth, the Sun's light won't be totally blocked anywhere, and there will be no total eclipse. It will be what is known as an annular eclipse. If you were standing in a line exactly Sun- Moon-Earth and looked towards the Sun (or Moon!) you would see the Moon silhouetted against the Sun and you would see a ring of sunlight around it - hence the name "annular"!

In southern Africa the best place to view the partial eclipse is in Cape Town which will be 51% just after 4pm. See the table below for start, maximum and end times for the eclipse from Cape Town to Harare.  No last contact time is listed for Durban as the sun will have set before the end of the eclipse. Remember to protect your eyes. Do not look directly at the Sun, rather use safe solar viewers.

Event Cape Town Johannesburg Durban  Harare
First contact 14:51:41    15:26:03 15:19:20 15:56:56
Maximum eclipse 16:10:48    16:34:32 16:30:03 16:49:53
Last contact 17:22:14    17:35:47 ------- 17:28:13
Max. eclipse 51%    41.8% 47.9% 25.2%

The images below model what you could see if you were in the Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg area.

Eclipse Cape Town

Eclipse Durban

Eclipse Johannesburg


Related articles:

Understanding eclipses

How to make your own solar eclipse viewers

Safe viewing of December 4 2002 eclipse

Solar Eclipse - December 4 2002



Science in Africa - Africa's First On-Line Science Magazine

Return to Home PageReturn to the TopYour FeedbackRegister with "Science in Africa" 

Copyright  2002, Science in Africa, Science magazine for Africa CC. All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions