Partial solar eclipse in Australia, Antartica

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Chennai, Feb 7: A partial annular eclipse of the sun occurred today and it was visible in parts of Australia and Antartica and throughout New Zealand, official sources said.

The eclipse, however, was not visible in India. It occurred at around 0800 hrs and lasted just seven minutes, Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre Executive Director Dr Iyyamperumal told UNI. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between earth and the sun, obscuring earth's view of the sun. ''When the moon moves away from the earth in its elliptical orbit, its apparent angular size in the sky is reduced. So, when it moves across the sun, it will not be able to cover it entirely and an annulus of the sun will still be visible even during the eclipse, which is called annular eclipse,'' he said.

Dr Iyyamperumal said a lunar eclipse would occur on February 21.

The second eclipse of the month, which would be a total eclipse of the moon, would begin at 0713 hrs. ''The greatest eclipse (totality) will be at 0856 hrs and the partial phase will end at 1035 hrs. This eclipse will also not be visible in India. It will be visible only in the US and Western Europe,'' he said.

There would also be another solar eclipse and lunar eclipse in August, he added.


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