Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - Page 2 News List

CWB advises public on eclipse

LIGHTS OUT Taiwan will not witness a total solar eclipse on Wednesday as it does not fall within the observation zone, but a partial eclipse should be maximal at 9:40am

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

People in Taiwan won’t be able to see the total solar eclipse on Wednesday, but will see a partial eclipse, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday.

Jheng Jyun-yue (鄭俊岳), station chief at the bureau’s Astronomical Observatory, said that the beginning of the eclipse should be able to be seen from Taipei at 8:23am on Wednesday, when the upper left portion of the Sun will be missing.

Jheng said the eclipse would be at its maximum at 9:40am, when 80 percent of the Sun will be blocked out by the moon. The eclipse will end at 11:05am, he said.

“The partial solar eclipse can be viewed nationwide at different times,” he said. “There is only a slight difference in the size of the solar eclipse when viewed from different cities, but the shape people should see is about the same. In general, viewers in the north should see a larger eclipse.”

The last time Taiwan was in a total solar eclipse observation zone was 1941, and people can get the best view on the north coast, Keelung and Matsu, Jheng said.

Taiwan will not see a total solar eclipse until April 11, 2070, when the best view will be from Kenting and Lanyu (蘭嶼), he said, but added that an annular solar eclipse would occur on March 31, 2012, and could be viewed from Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli.

An annular eclipse occurs instead of a total eclipse when the Moon is on the far part of its elliptical orbit around the Earth.

The bureau has added an astronomical special report section to its Web site that provides the public with detailed information on the total solar eclipse. Those who cannot observe the partial solar eclipse can see a live broadcast on the Web site. The bureau is also uploading satellite cloud image charts every 30 minutes to allow people to track the path of the shadow the moon creates on the surface of the Earth.

The bureau said the public should not look directly at the partial solar eclipse to avoid eye damage. A lens or other device that filters the Sun’s ultraviolet rays should be used.

The total solar eclipse will be first seen on the west coast of India, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Central China. The observation zone will end at Iwo Jima, Japan, where people should be able to see the total solar eclipse for 6 minutes, 39 seconds.

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