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May 4, 2012

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All eyes on solar eclipse

SHANGHAI residents will be turning their eyes skyward on the morning of May 21 when daylight will fade as the moon partially obscures the sun.

The annular solar eclipse is predicted to be visible in China's southeast coastal areas on the day, but local residents will be able to witness a partial eclipse as the city will be out of the track of the annular phase, Tang Haiming, an official with the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, said yesterday.

The partial eclipse will begin at 5:15am and end at 7:32am. The sun will go into a partial eclipse at 6:19am when a large part of the fiery orb will be obscured by the moon and start to emerge soon.

A partial eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are not exactly in line and the moon only partially obscures the sun. This phenomenon can usually be seen from a large part of the earth outside of the track of an annular or total eclipse. However, Tang said rain, clouds and hazy weather may hamper the observation of the partial eclipse.

Shanghai residents were last able to see an annular solar eclipse in 1987. The next partial solar eclipse won't come until March 2016, Tang revealed.


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