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 user 2005-04-08 at 11:22:00 am Views: 82
  • #8700

    Sky-Watchers Await Solar Eclipse on Friday

    Sky-watchers From the South Pacific to the Americas will
    witness the first solar eclipse of 2005 on Friday when the moon blots out part
    of the sun.

    It will be a partial eclipse rather than a total one, in
    which the Earth is cast into darkness. But it will be the last partial solar
    eclipse visible from the continental United States until May 20, 2012.

    Solar eclipses occur when the Earth, sun and moon line up
    in such a way that the moon casts a shadow over Earth.

    Friday’s eclipse will last from a few minutes to over an
    hour, depending on one’s location. In much of the continental United States,
    people will see what looks like the moon taking a bite out of the sun, with the
    bite bigger over the South.

    In Central America and the northern portion of South
    America, the sun will be reduced to a narrow ring of fire.

    Astronomers warned people not to stare directly at the sun
    without eye protection.

    “It’s neat to see the moon take a bite of the sun,” said
    Tom Fleming, an astronomer at the Steward Observatory at the University of
    Arizona in Tucson. “Each eclipse is different because I remember who I was with
    and where I was when I was watching it.”

    The path of the eclipse will stretch about 8,800 miles
    through a corridor beginning near New Zealand and extending across the

    In the United States, people living north of a line
    extending from southernmost California to central New Jersey will see no dimming
    of the sun at all.

    The maximum eclipse visible from the continental United
    States will be in Miami, where nearly half of the sun’s diameter will be covered
    at 6:20 p.m. EDT.

    For a while, the sun will be blotted out completely as the
    eclipse moves across the open Pacific, but it will be visible only to people at

    The next solar eclipse will be Oct. 3, crossing the Iberian
    Peninsula to Africa.