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Eclipse glimpse: Thousands watch decade's last ring of fire

By Quynh Tran   December 26, 2019 | 08:27 pm PT
Locals and tourists in Saigon used telescopes and binoculars Thursday noon to witness the last solar eclipse of the year and the decade.
A huge crowd of people gathered at Bach Dang Wharf, District 1, to admire the last eclipse of the decade. Members of the Ho Chi Minh City Amateur Astronomy Club (HAAC) had already set up binoculars, telescopes, filters, cameras, and other equipments in the morning for everybody to watch this phenomenon for free.Pham Bui Xuan Hoang, head of the club, said the eclipse took place in many places and that Singapore is the best place to observe because the moon completely obscures the sun. Mau is the clearest. The group chose Bach Dang wharf because the area is clear, there are few buildings for people to see solar eclipse, Hoang said.

A large crowd of people gathered at the Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 to admire the last eclipse of the decade.

Members of the Ho Chi Minh City Amateur Astronomy Club (HAAC) had already set up binoculars, telescopes, filters, cameras, and other equipment for everybody to watch this natural phenomenon for free. 

Pham Bui Xuan Hoang, leader of the club, said the eclipse can be seen in different places in the world, but Singapore is the most ideal location since people there can see the moon completely obscuring the sun. 

"The eclipse can be seen anywhere across Vietnam and the southernmost province of Ca Mau is the best place to watch this," he said. "We chose Bach Dang Wharf because that is a spacious area and offers a clear view without skyscapers coming in between."

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The solar eclipse began at 10:44 a.m. in Hanoi and 10:36 a.m. in HCMC, peaked at 12:24 p.m. in Hanoi and 12:31 p.m. in HCMC, and ended at 2:01 p.m. in Hanoi and 2:20 p.m. in HCMC.

People captured a solar eclipse image from a reflecting telescope.

A boy looks on in wonder at a solar eclipse image on a reflecting telescope.

According to Hoang, people in Saigon could only observe about 60 percent of the total eclipse.

HAAC handed out special glasses for people to protect their eyes while watching the solar eclipse.

HAAC handed out special glasses for people to protect their eyes while watching the ring of fire. Thu Hien, a visitor, said: "It's very exciting to be able to see the eclipse unfold right in front of my eyes."

Nghi, 9, checked out the phenomenal through a binocular.

Nghi, 9, is lifted up to a pair of binoculars. "I've only known about this natural occurrence in text books. It's very interesting to see it in real life for the first time," the boy said.

Anna, a Ukraine tourist, attentively followed the eclipse from the telescope. I stumbled upon this interesting event  she said.According to the team leader, at the peak, the clouds came and people could only see a partial eclipse. The total solar eclipse here ends at about 3pm.

Anna, a Ukraine tourist, watches the eclipse on a telescope. "It is exciting for me to stumble upon this interesting event during my first time in Saigon," she said.

The last annular eclipse that could be watched from Vietnam was in March 2016.

 
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