Monday, January 26, 2009

2,000 Throng National Planetarium For Partial Solar Eclipse


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) --

About 2,000 people thronged the National Planetarium here at about 3pm to view the country's first partial solar eclipse for this year that lasted for two-and-a-half hours.


The planetarium's research officer, Lau Chen Chen, said visitors got to see the moon obscuring the sun up to 82.6 per cent."The solar eclipse would happen during a new moon and when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and this causes the sunlight to be partially or wholly shut out," she said when met by Bernama here Monday.


The solar eclipse was seen beginning at 4.34pm when the moon passed the fringe of the sun and this was the 'first contact' to begin the partial solar eclipse."Observers cannot detect the contact at this time because of the strong sunlight. They were given special spectacles to view the phenomenon.


The eclipse can only be seen safely after the moon blocks the sunlight gradually to create a crescent until the maximum blockage was attained at 5.50pm," Lau said.The partial solar eclipse ended at 6.55pm when the sight of the moon disappeared gradually and sunlight returned.


The last time such an eclipse happened in Malaysia was in 2002.


Beside that various activities were planned at the planetarium including the film 'SOS Planet' at the Space Theatre at 5pm and a laser show called 'The Legend of the Night Sky'.


Meanwhile, the Head Imam of the National Mosque, Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad, called on Muslims to use the occasion to reflect on the greatness of God.


Earlier he had delivered a sermon on strengthening faith through the solar eclipse at the Federal Territory Mosque where about 3,000 Muslims gathered.


-- BERNAMA
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