Stardome prepares for solar eclipse

19:54, Nov 13 2012
solar eclipse
MOVING EVENT: Stardome Observatory and Planetarium expect the next solar eclipse on Wednesday November 14 to draw a big crowd.

Depending on the weather, thousands are expected to roll up to Stardome Observatory and Planetarium for next Wednesday's partial solar eclipse.

"It is going to be a really exciting event, we have not had such an impressive eclipse since the 60s 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.

A fuller eclipse will be visible in Northland, with the best view - 89.4 per cent - at Cape Reinga where it will start at 9.35am.

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.

Creagh said they had thousands of people at the Stardome during the Transit of Venus earlier this year and she expected 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.

The eclipse will also fall on the 64th birthday of the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, who will be in Wellington at the time.

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