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Nation to see partial eclipse of sun

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July 22,2009
A sequence of an eclipse. People in Seoul will see 80 percent of the eclipse at 10:50 a.m. today. [JoongAng Ilbo]

People will be on their feet in South Korea this morning to watch the first big space show of the 21st century - a near total eclipse of the sun.

The phenomenon will be first observed in India, with Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Korea to follow. Though Korea will only see a partial eclipse, many other parts of the world will see the sun totally blacked out. At the longest, the eclipse will last six minutes and 39 seconds.

CNN quoted MIT astronomer Richard Binzel as saying that “this eclipse has the potential to be observed by more people than any eclipse in all of history.” Binzel will be in Shanghai to witness the event.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and astronomers say the eclipse is a golden research opportunity. They are blanketing Asia to watch the event unfold. China, Japan and other countries are going to broadcast the eclipse and hold events so that the public can enjoy the space show.

South Korean people will be able to observe a partial eclipse during which the moon will eventually cover about 80 percent of the sun. The starting time of the eclipse is 9:34 a.m. in Korea. The height of the partial eclipse here will be 10:50 a.m.

A number of events across the country will be held to give people an opportunity to watch the eclipse.

The National Science Museum in Daejeon will host an event for three hours beginning at 9:30 a.m. Astronomer Choi Dong-ryul, a researcher at the Daejeon Education and Science Research Institute, will talk about the eclipse and display the event in images from five telescopes.

Residents of the southern resort island of Jeju will be able to visit Jeju Starlight World Park and Planetarium in Jeju City at 9 a.m. and observe the event while viewing a space photos exhibition.

The Gyeonggi Institute of Science Education in Suwon, Gyeonggi, and the Gimhae Astronomical Observatory in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang, will also hold eclipse events.

In Seoul, the Nowon District Office will distribute sunglasses to people visiting the Seoul English Science Edu-Center in Nowon, in order to prevent visitors from harming their eyes while watching the eclipse. The district office is also going to install a large projector screen at the central plaza in front of the center to broadcast the eclipse in real-time for those who cannot make it to the center.


By Choi Hyung-kyu, Ha Hyun-ock [smartpower@joongang.co.kr]




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