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Penrhyn catches a glimpse of near-total eclipse despite cloudy skies

Tuesday 9 April 2024 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in National, Weather


Penrhyn catches a glimpse of near-total eclipse despite cloudy skies
Excited Penrhyn residents yesterday gathered on the beach to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse at around 6.39am. Tamu Tapaitau/24040820

Some lucky Penrhyn residents witnessed a near-total solar eclipse despite cloudy weather, while Rarotonga residents missed their partial eclipse due to rain.

Penrhyn residents excitedly gathered on the beach yesterday to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse around 6.39am.

The northern group island was one of the first places on Earth to witness this phenomenon. A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun, blocking some or all of the sun’s rays from reaching Earth.

Some fortunate island residents witnessed an almost-total eclipse, with 98.5 per cent of the sun blocked out.

Penrhyn executive officer Puna Vano said: “Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy and light showers this (yesterday) morning. Some people had a good view of the eclipse from the other side of the village.”

Vano said residents were excited to view the solar eclipse. Some woke up early and made their way to the beach for a better view.

“We had relatives calling from overseas asking us to do Facebook live and take pictures of it so that they can also witness it but unfortunately the weather was not on our side and some of us were unable to clearly view it due to the cloud and light drizzle.”

In Rarotonga, residents were looking forward to a partial eclipse – 38 per cent of the sun blocked out – at approximately 6.51am but woke up to a rainy Monday.

According to Cook Islands website, published by retired BBC radio and TV reporter and presenter John Roberts, this is the third time in 59 years that islands in the Cooks group have been in the path of a solar eclipse: on the two previous occasions they were total eclipses.

On May 30, 1965, uninhabited Manuae attracted what was then the largest gathering ever of solar astronomers to observe a total eclipse from a single site.

“Six seconds after 8.21 am on July 11, 2010, day turned to night on the ancient island of Mangaia as the shadow of the moon obscured the sun. And for the following 3 minutes 18.8 seconds, the island, its 654 residents and around 400 visitors from all over the world had the experience of a lifetime.”

A total solar eclipse passed over North America on Monday, putting on a dramatic show that was visible to millions of people, CNN reported.

Those within the path of totality, including 32 million people in the United States, saw the eclipse in its full splendour.

Many people travelled to the path of totality to attend special viewing parties. Those along the very centre line of the path saw an eclipse that lasted between 3½ and 4 minutes, according to NASA.

For many Americans, this was the last chance to see a total solar eclipse for 20 years. The next one won’t be visible across the contiguous United States until August 2044.