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January 7, 2010

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Celestial spectacle coming next week

A PARTIAL solar eclipse will be seen in Shanghai on the afternoon of January 15, when the first annular eclipse in China in 22 years and the longest in the world for the next 1,000 years will be visible in some provinces.

Though people in Shanghai will see no more than a partial eclipse, experts said it will be a great experience, because the sun will be setting while the eclipse is still in progress.

"Local astronomical fans shouldn't miss the partial eclipse after a splendid total eclipse took place on July 22 last year," said Tang Haiming, an official from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory.

Afternoon event

Residents should be able to see the partial eclipse with observation spectacles when it starts at 3:39pm. At 4:57pm, 80 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.

The sun will set with the eclipse at about 5:15pm.

Experts said lighting won't be affected in the afternoon and people should even be able to see the eclipse while the sunlight dims.

But they said no one should stare at the sun with naked eyes too long.

For a better look at the eclipse, the observatory will send experts to Dali, Yunnan Province, the best observation place, next week.

This eclipse will enter the nation from Yunnan Province and pass Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Henan and Shandong.

In Yunnan, the whole procedure will run from 3:07pm to 6:06pm and the observatory will broadcast it on its Website (

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun over part of the earth.

In an annular eclipse, the moon appears smaller than the sun. The sun then appears as a very bright ring around the moon.


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