Two days ago, I read an article in Yahoo Buzz that the solar eclipse which occurred last July 22 was an annular one, meaning that the sun was not totally covered by the moon, thereby leaving a ring of light, called "annulus" along the sun's perimeter.

But according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website, it was a total solar eclipse, meaning the sun was fully covered at the time of greatest eclipse.The total eclipse was visible in Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, and northern India.The bad news is that it will take another 123 years (in year 2132) before Earthlings will able to witness another solar spectacle such as this.

Total Solar Eclipse
[photo by: Manoj.dayyala]

This astronomical event caught the imagination of the Swiss makers of Stuhrling original watches, that they started a series of Solar Eclipse watches, which capture the heavenly spectacle right on the faces of this marvelous collection.

Too bad, my future grandchildren and great grandchildren will not have the chance to experience a total eclipse in their lifetime. At least I'm fortunate enough to have experienced two total solar eclipses, which does not include the July 22 eclipse because it was seen as only a partial eclipse in our region.

The first of these two eclipses, which I mentioned in "My Memoirs of Growing Up," occurred on June 20, 1955 when I was only six and a half years old. This eclipse was witnessed by the population of the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. According to NASA records, the total eclipse lasted 7 minutes, 7.7 seconds, compared to the 6 minutes and 39 seconds duration of the July 22 eclipse. You can see the path of the June 20, 1955 eclipse in this Google Map.

The second total solar eclipse I experienced, which lasted 3 minutes and 46.3 seconds, occurred on March 18, 1988. This one was visible in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Pacific. Here's the Google Map that traces its path.

Viewing the eclipse directly with the naked eye is not advisable as it can cause damage to the eyes. A safe way to view it is with a telescope fitted with a solar filter. In our case, we viewed it indirectly through a water basin.