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Sky watchers go bush to see eclipse 'ring of fire'

By Gail Liston, Thursday May 9, 2013 - 09:03 EST

The Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek is in the grip of eclipse fever, with astronomers from across the globe arriving to watch a rare annular eclipse.

Tomorrow, the moon will move across the sun and, for a few minutes after 8:00am Central Standard Time, an aptly named "ring of fire" will be visible.

Astronomer Melissa Hulbert says only people in and around Tennant Creek, about 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin, will see the full spectacle.

"The disc of the moon appears slightly smaller than the disc of the sun in our sky, so when the moon is across the sun on Friday morning it won't completely cover the sun," she said.

"We'll see an annula, or a disc of sunlight, surrounding the moon ... what we call an annular eclipse."

She says stargazers have zeroed in on the town from across Australia and the world.

"Round Tennant Creek is the best area for viewing," she said.

"That's because there is only a very narrow track that you can see the annular, the actual annular part of the eclipse," she said.

"Anywhere outside of that track and you see a partial solar eclipse."


© ABC 2013

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