Solar eclipse begins in Taiwan

The Complete 'Ring of Fire' is seen in this photo taken on June 21, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The much-anticipated celestial event began Sunday afternoon and is visible to people in parts of Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Nantou, Hualien and Taitung cities and counties, as well as the outlying islands of Penghu and Kinmen, according to the Taipei Astronomical Museum.

The phenomenon occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, covering the sun’s center but leaving its outer rim, or corona, visible, forming an annulus around the moon, the museum said.

In Taiwan, the eclipse will be visible from 2:44 p.m. to 5:26 p.m., starting in Kinmen County at around 2:44 p.m. and can be last seen at 5:24 p.m. from Taitung County, the last of Taiwan’s counties and cities where people will be able to witness the event, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Areas other than the above listed cities and counties can see a partial solar eclipse, the museum said, adding that in Taipei, for instance, observers can expect the climax of the event to take place at around 4:10 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., when the sun will be blocked and will appear more like a new moon.

The spectacle will not be visible again until 2070 in Taiwan, when the eclipse will be seen in only parts of Pingtung County.

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

Members of the public react while watching an annular eclipse in southern Taiwan on June 21, 2020. (CNA)