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Astronomer wants brakes on for eclipse

AN astronomer wants traffic to come to a halt during the full solar eclipse on July 22.
Tang Haiming, with The Sheshan Observatory, said stopping traffic would ensure safety during the five minutes of complete darkness of the eclipse and it would give more people an opportunity to witness a rare natural phenomenon.
The eclipse, which will start at around 8.20am in Shanghai, will occur in the morning rush hour. Complete darkness will fall around 9.30am and last 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
Drivers might experience problems with the sudden fall of darkness, Tang said.
A full solar eclipse is a rare occurrence -- the next one will not happen for 300 years, said Su Dingqiang, a member of the Chinese Science Academy.
The July 22 eclipse will be visible over an area extending hundreds of kilometers along the Yangtze River and will include Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan and Hangzhou. Shanghai will be one of the best places to observe the eclipse, Su said.
The Sheshan Observatory will set up a special viewing area in Yuehu Park at the base of Sheshan Hill in Songjiang District on July 22 to cope with 5,000 observers, Tang said.
But the observatory has no plans to organize mass observations downtown. People are being encouraged to view the eclipse from their homes.
Tang warned people not to try watching the eclipse with the naked eye or through an ordinary telescope, and said this could damage the eyes.


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