Annular solar eclipse prompts excitement across Taiwan

06/21/2020 06:44 PM
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In Chiayi. / CNA photo June 21, 2020
In Chiayi. / CNA photo June 21, 2020

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) People in Taiwan braced scorching temperatures on Sunday to watch a rare annular solar eclipse, which will not be visible again on such a scale in the country for 195 years.

Thanks to mostly sunny skies across Taiwan, people flocked to museums, parks and schools for guided solar eclipse watching or simply observed the event from street corners, using protective eye gear.

The momentum was especially high in Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Nantou, Hualien and Taitung cities and counties, as well as the outlying islands of Penghu and Kinmen, as people there could witness the entire process of the eclipse.

In Chiayi
In Chiayi's Beisianhu Park. / CNA photo June 21, 2020

At an event held by the Chiayi City government in the city's Beisianhu Park, visitors were treated to art installations, performances, markets and observation activities guided by Sun Wei-hsin (孫維新), director of the National Museum of Natural Science.

Sun said he hoped the observers will remember the differences in brightness they experienced as the moon moved to cover a large portion of the sun at around 4 p.m., pointing out that the sky turned darker due to the eclipse.

In Chiayi, the eclipse started at 2:49 p.m. and ended at 5:25 p.m., with the complete "ring of fire" taking place for less than a minute at 4:14 p.m., when 99 percent of the sun's surface was blocked.

In Taipei. / CNA photo June 21, 2020
In Taipei. / CNA photo June 21, 2020

The spectacle there drew crowds from across the country and according to intercity bus operator Kuo-Kuang Motor Transportation Company, passengers to Chiayi on Sunday were about 15 percent higher compared with the previous weekend.

In Taipei, where only a partial solar eclipse was visible, around 10,000 people were estimated to have visited the Taipei Astronomical Museum, museum officials said.

The last time the museum saw such heavy traffic was in July 2009, when a total solar eclipse took place, officials said.

In Yilan, where a partial solar eclipse could be observed. / CNA photo June 21, 2020
In Yilan, where a partial solar eclipse could be observed. / CNA photo June 21, 2020

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Internet users watched the eclipse streamed online by various government and academic outlets.

The next time an annular solar eclipse covering such a large percentage of the sun will not be visible in Taiwan until June 28, 2215, according to the museum.

(By Yu Hsiao-han, Liang Pei-chi and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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In Taichung. / CNA photo June 21, 2020
In Taichung. / CNA photo June 21, 2020
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