Get ready for partial eclipse

2011-11-21 21:12

Johannesburg - A partial solar eclipse will sweep across the southern part of the world on November 25, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) said on Monday.

The moon would cover about 80% of the sun at the south pole, chair of the IAU's working group on eclipses, Jay Pasachoff, said in a statement.

Only viewers close enough to Antarctica and Cape Town would be able to see the eclipse near sunrise, and on the Australian island of Tasmania and South Island of New Zealand near sunset.

In Cape Town, the eclipse would take place over a period of about 80 minutes an hour after sunrise, from 06.28 to 07.18, with a maximum coverage of 10% of the sun's diameter.

"Because the everyday sun is too bright to look at safely, special solar filters or projection methods should always be used to protect the eyes."

The central part of the shadow would pass 330km below the south pole. Ninety percent of the sun would be covered at the part of Antarctica south of Patagonia, South America.

The IAU said partial eclipses were not usually scientifically useful, but the moon's advancing edge could help radio astronomers pinpoint solar storms.

This year was unusual because it had only four partial solar eclipses and during all of them the darkest part of the moon's shadow passed over the earth's surface.

On November 14 2012 a total solar eclipse would start in northeastern Australia,the IAU said.

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