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Solar Eclipse

November 25, 2011

Much of Antarctica has seen round-the-clock sunshine for weeks now. But the quality of the light will suffer a bit tomorrow, taking on a dusky quality during a partial solar eclipse — an event that’s not visible from North America.

The eclipse takes place because the Moon will pass in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. It won’t cover the entire solar disk, though, so the eclipse won’t be a great one. It’ll make the skies look a bit murky, but not much more.

The eclipse begins at 10:23 p.m. Central Standard Time tonight. But the scientific stations on Antarctica follow Universal Time, which is six hours ahead of Central Time, so the eclipse will take place in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The faint lunar shadow will first touch Earth over the South Atlantic Ocean. It’ll then sweep over Antarctica, with the greatest eclipse visible from a couple of research stations on the Antarctic Peninsula. After that, the shadow will move over parts of New Zealand before it exits Earth and heads back into space at 2:17 a.m.

Even though we won’t see the eclipse from here in the United States, as the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. This is the first act of a pair of eclipses. The Sun, Moon, and Earth will once again align when the Moon comes around to the opposite side of Earth on December 10th. That’ll create a lunar eclipse, and part or all of that eclipse will be visible from the entire U.S.


Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2011


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