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Solar eclipse to wow Aucklanders

Last updated 10:44 13/11/2012
Eclipse
PARTIAL ECLIPSE: An image from an eclipse in 2008. Tomorrow’s eclipse will be the best since the early 1960s.

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Depending on the weather, thousands are expected to head to Stardome Observatory and Planetarium for tomorrow's partial solar eclipse.

''It is going to be a really exciting event, we have not had such an impressive eclipse since the 1960s and it will be a long time before another one,'' Stardome's Jo Creagh says.

The eclipse will start over Cairns, Australia, just after sunrise and be visible over Auckland as a partial, or 87-per-cent, eclipse, beginning at 9.18am, reaching maximum coverage at 10.28am, and ending at 11.44am.

The sun will appear as a brilliant bright crescent.

An eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon passes directly between earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the earth.

The northern parts of Australia are the only land areas that experience the total eclipse.

Ms Creagh said they had thousands of people at the Stardome during the Transit of Venus earlier this year and she expectes the same this time.

They will have telescopes with solar filters set up as well as special glasses to view the Sun.

There will not be a better eclipse in New Zealand until 2035.

For Auckland's large Indian community the eclipse is significant as it coincides with Diwali, the festival of light.

Stardome will be hosting a public open day from 9am to 1pm. 

Join the Stardome astronomy team for telescope viewing through telescopes fitted with solar filters, short planetarium shows explaining the solar eclipse for a gold coin donation and watch the eclipse live streamed onto big screens around Stardome.

Visit stardome.org.nz for more information.

How to look at the sun safely:

- Do not look at the sun directly

- Sunglasses will not provide adequate protection

- Only look through an approved filter

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