Sun, May 20, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Count on luck to see annular solar eclipse: bureau

Staff writer, with CNA

Astronomy buffs will have to rely on luck to catch a glimpse of an annular solar eclipse tomorrow, as heavy clouds are forecast across the nation that day, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday.

The rare phenomenon, last seen in Taiwan in 1958, is expected to take place at 4:56am tomorrow, when the top right portion of the sun will gradually be covered by the shadow of the moon, as it passes between Earth and the sun. An annular eclipse happens when the moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the sun, and the sun looks like an annulus — the Latin word for ring — after it is obscured from view.

According to the bureau, the full eclipse is expected to occur at around 6:10am and last for three or four minutes. The eclipse is expected to end by 10:49am.

Such an event will not take place again until June 2020, the bureau added.

Weather permitting, people in northern Taiwan and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu will be able to see up to 87 percent of the sun’s surface being blocked from view by the moon, the bureau said.

Both the bureau and the Taipei Astronomical Museum will broadcast the event live via their Web sites and provide links to observatories overseas, so people can enjoy the event whatever the weather is like in Taiwan.

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