Sat, Dec 10, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Poor weather to affect visibility of total eclipse

Staff Writer, with CNA

A rare total lunar eclipse is shown in this photo taken on June 16. The Central Weather Bureau said yesterday that an eclipse is expected to begin at about 7:30pm tonight, but the view in Taiwan is likely to be blocked by clouds.

Photo: Yang Ching-ching, Taipei Times

Stargazers could be disappointed this weekend as poor weather conditions are likely to affect the visibility of a rare total lunar eclipse, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday.

The eclipse is expected to begin at about 7:30pm tonight and last for about six hours, but the view in Taiwan is likely to be blocked by clouds, the bureau said.

A cloud band is forecast to move in from the south of the country earlier in the day, bringing rain, it said.

The rainy weather, along with plummeting temperatures across the nation because of a cold air mass from China, could dampen interest in the lunar eclipse, the bureau said.

Forecasters said observation conditions could be slightly better in central Taiwan, with clearer skies and lows of about 13?C.

However, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said it would hold a series of events today to celebrate the “once in a blue moon” event.

The activities will include astronomy classes and Jupiter observation guidance, the museum said.

Chang Kuei-lan (張桂蘭), an assistant researcher at the museum, suggested that those who cannot make it to the museum should try its Internet service.

The museum will link up with astronomical observatories in countries where observation conditions are better and will present a real-time Web cast of the eclipse, Chang said.

“Just click on the links and watch the moon turn red,” she said. “You won’t regret it.”

The previous total lunar eclipse visible from Taiwan was in June — a rarity in that two total lunar eclipses will have occurred within the same year — and the next one is expected in 2018.

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