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Last Updated: Wednesday July 22 2009 06:00 GMT

Asia watches longest eclipse

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Parts of Asia were plunged into darkness on Thursday as the continent watched the longest total solar eclipse of the century.

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, and this one lasted six minutes and 39 seconds.

It was visible in India, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and parts of the Pacific ocean.

There won't be a longer total eclipse until 2132, so we've got a bit of a wait for the next one!

Thai children watching eclipse
Children in Thailand watched the eclipse

For an eclipse to be total, the moon has to completely cover the sun.

And lots of people who weren't in the path of the total eclipse saw a partial eclipse, where part of the sun is still visible.

This eclipse first became total in India at about 1.53am UK time.

Because of the spin of the Earth, the eclipse moved east, and was last visible at 5.18am UK time.

But at the place where it lasted the longest, a village called Taregna in India, the weather was too cloudy to give a clear view of the eclipse.

Total solar eclipse
Eclipse graphic
In the area covered by the umbra (the darkest part of the shadow), a total eclipse is seen
In the region covered by the penumbra (where only some of the sun is obscured) a partial eclipse is seen