Eastern hemisphere will witness solar eclipse on Jan 4

Written by: Nairita Das
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Washington, Jan 1 (ANI): A dramatic partial eclipse of the Sun will be visible throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia on January 4.

Depending on the viewer's location, the Moon will slowly cover and then uncover up to 80 percent of the Sun's disk over a 3-hour period.

For many cities in Western Europe and Africa, Tuesday's event will already be under way at sunrise, offering a great chance for interesting photography.

A solar eclipse can only happen during a new Moon, and in particular when the Moon passes directly between Earth and the Sun.

A partial solar eclipse can be viewed from a relatively wide geographic area. The closer you are to the point of greatest eclipse the deeper the Moon's "bite" in the Sun's disk.

And Europeans won't get another opportunity like this until March 20, 2015.

Anyone watching the solar eclipse should do so very carefully.

"Looking directly at the Sun is harmful to your eyes at any time, partial eclipse or no," said Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine.

"The eclipse prompts people to gaze at the Sun, something they wouldn't normally do. The result can be temporary or permanent blurred vision or blind spots at the center of your view," he added.

One should get look at the Sun directly through glasses equipped with special solar filters, or through dark #13 or #14 welder's glass. Another easy method is create a pinhole projector, created by poking a small hole in a card, facing it toward the Sun, and holding a second card about 1 meter behind it in its shadow.

"Amateur astronomers have been able to view a total solar eclipse somewhere in the world for the past three years," notes Kelly Beatty of Sky and Telescope.

"But there won't be one this year-so everyone in a position to see the partial event on January 4th should enjoy it if they can."

To see the partial eclipse as it happens, go to these live webcasts:

University of Barcelona's Department of Astronomy and Meteorology:ttp://serviastro.am.ub.es/serviastro/www/html/eps2011/live/index.html

Bareket Observatory in Israel: http://www.bareket-astro.com/live-astronomical-web-cast/live-solar-eclipse-webcast-jan-04-2011.html (ANI)

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