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NASA to provide live video feed for solar eclipse

Written by: Staff

Washington, Mar 29: Teams of international astronomers will today bring a rare, four-minute total eclipse of the sun to people around the world, with webcasts, podcasts and live video feeds provided by NASA.

Solar eclipses happen when the shadow of the moon passes in front of the sun and they do not happen very often because the tilted orbits of the sun, moon and earth make their alignment rare.

Only about once a year, a total eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth when the moon passes directly in front of the sun and when the shadow seems, from earth's perspective, to be the same size or larger than the sun.

NASA sources said that the path of today's eclipse begins in Brazil and extends across the Atlantic Ocean, northern Africa and Central Asia, where it ends at sunset in northern Mongolia.

Only those in a narrow corridor that crosses half of the earth will be able to observe the event directly.

A partial eclipse will be seen along a much broader path that includes the northern two thirds of Africa, Europe and Central Asia, the sources said.

The best visibility will be in the desert of Libya, and for the first time, NASA and Libyan scientists will conduct joint scientific activities as they observe and study the eclipse.

In Turkey, just before the eclipse, three astronomers from the University of California-Berkeley will take the stage in a 1,900-year-old Roman amphitheater to introduce local students and the public to the science and lore of solar eclipses.

Scientists and educators from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland will participate in activities before the eclipse -- some of them will be podcast by NASA Goddard and the Exploratorium -- including visits to local schools.

The eclipse will be webcast live, thanks to the support of NASA and The Exploratorium in San Francisco. The programme is part of the yearly ''Sun-Earth Day'' celebration sponsored by NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.

The next total solar eclipse will occur on August 1, 2008, which will be seen in northern Canada, Greenland, Siberia, Mongolia and northern China.


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