Southern hemisphere to glimpse year's last solar eclipse

Nov 24, 2011

The tip of South Africa, Tasmania and most of New Zealand will -- weather permitting -- enjoy a partial eclipse of the Sun on Friday although the handful of hardy scientists in Antarctica will get the best view, according to astronomers.

Partial eclipses occur when a fraction of the Moon obscures the Sun, and to those in its shadow a "bite" seems to have been taken out of the solar face.

The longest duration of Friday's eclipse will be at 0621 GMT, at a point east of the .

It will be the last of four partial solar eclipses this year. The previous ones occurred on January 4, June 1 and July 1.

The last Sun-Moon-Earth alignment in 2011 occurs on December 10, with a visible from Europe, , Asia, Australia, the Pacific and North America, according to veteran NASA expert Fred Espenak.

Explore further: Bright points in Sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior

More information:
- Further details: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

- A simulation of the pathway of Friday's eclipse can be found on www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar-eclipse-november-25-2011.html

- Eclipses should only be observed through special filters or eyewear, to prevent optical damage.

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