Five eclipses for 2002. two solar and three lunar

May 26, 2002, marked the first eclipse of the year with a lunar eclipse that was visible throughout most of North America with the exception of the northeast and Pacific Ocean.

June 10, 2002, brings the first solar eclipse of the year. Partial phases will be visible throughout most of North America except in the northeast and Hawaii. The end of this astronomical event will be visible in the southwestern part of Alaska. The eclipse is annular with a path that stretches the breadth of the Pacific Ocean. Viewers in the northeast United States will have to wait until 2013 before seeing another solar eclipse.

The moon's shadow first touches down on Earth at 20:53 GMT along the north coast Indonesia's fourth largest island, Sulawesi. It then moves on to the islands of Pulau Sangihe and Kepulauan Talaud. The ring of fire, or annular phase, will last about one minute here just above the horizon. As it moves across the Pacific, it will reach the southern end of the Northern Mariana Islands, moving to pass about 30 miles south of Baja, Mexico, at 01:32 GMT and finally just south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The entire event will last three hours and 47 minutes with the final shadow leaving the earth's surface at 01:35 GMT.

June 24, 2002, will bring the year's second lunar eclipse, but that will not be visible from North America. On Nov. 19, 2002, another lunar eclipse occurs, and this one will be visible from United States and Canada, with the exception of extreme western parts.

Finally, the year ends with a total eclipse of the sun on Dec. 4, 2002. This eclipse will plunge parts of southern Africa into total darkness, but will not be visible form North America.

By Ocean Navigator