Thousands view total solar eclipse

ITN News

by ITN News

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Thousands of people in the South Pacific region were among the lucky few who were able to witness a total solar eclipse.

The blackout occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking its rays and casting a shadow.

The eclipse started about 700 kilometres south-east of Tonga, and reaching French Polynesia, Easter Island and parts of mainland Chile.

The time of greatest eclipse occurred over open water, lasting about five minutes. On Easter Island, thousands of tourists doubled its population, just for this event.

Clouds that had threatened to spoil the moment dispersed minutes before the eclipse.

Scientists recommend that people wear special viewing glasses during a total solar eclipse and avoid looking directly with the naked eye.

The next total solar eclipse will occur in November 2012 and will be visible from northern Australia and the South Pacific.