Eyes on the skies as solar eclipse hits
Nation stops to witness astronomical eventMICHELLE SUTTON
School students were stopped in their tracks by a blindingly bright solar eclipse seen from Nelson this morning.
Nelson College students left the classroom to observe the eclipse - caused when the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun - which was at its most visible about 10.30am today. The eclipse was visible in New Zealand from 8.30am.
Nelson College science teacher Tristan Riley set up safe viewing platforms for students on school grounds, handing out special solar glasses and warning student not to look directly at the sun or they risked going blind.
From 9am science classes were able to look through a telescope or pin hole view - a special viewing platform made out of cardboard that showed the outline shadow of the eclipse. Clear skies gave students an excellent view.
‘‘Wow, it’s amazing,’’ said 14-year-old student Chris Chamberlain.
‘‘I thought everything would be completely black, but it’s really bright, like an orange (glow).’’
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Mr Riley was thrilled with students’ response and said he was so excited about today’s event that he was barely sleep last night.
‘‘It’s such a rare, special event showing the wonders of the world and space.’’
Totality - the darkness that happens at the peak of the eclipse - lasted just over two minutes. Auckland began experiencing an 87 per cent eclipse from 9.18am, reaching maximum coverage at 10.28am, and ending at 11.44am.
The next eclipse with this amount of obscuration seen from New Zealand will not occur until 2028.
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