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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 18, 2001

Bishop Museum to offer live webcast of solar eclipse

By Zenaida Serrano Espanol
Advertiser Staff Writer

A historic solar eclipse is upon us.

The last total solar eclipse was Aug. 11, 1999, over central Europe. The next one will be observed in Hawai'i from 12:01 to 3:30 a.m. Thursday via a special NASA webcast at the Bishop Museum Planetarium.

Ron Hipschman/Exploratorium in San Francisco

Although it won't be visible above Hawai'i, because it takes place during our night, the Bishop Museum will offer an opportunity to view it via live webcast.

The museum will present "Solar Eclipse Safari" from 12:01 to 3:30 a.m. Thursday and will be one of 85 sites participating in a special NASA presentation of the eclipse.

Planetarium manager Mike Shanahan said this is the first total solar eclipse of the millennium, but the best viewing is half a world away from us, in Zambia, which is where the webcast will originate, as well as Zimbabwe, Angola, Madagascar and Mozambique.

The webcast also may be seen at www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/ although heavy demand may make that Web address unreachable.

Shanahan said that the "total phase," the period during which the sun is completely blocked by the moon, will last for about two or three minutes, but the passing phase will last for a couple of hours.

He said this is one of the few times you'll be able to look directly at the sun without risking eye damage. It is "never, ever safe to observe the sun directly unless you're in a total solar eclipse," he pointed out.

Also planned for the three-hour family program are planetarium shows, an International Space Station demonstration, activities for children and refreshments.

Admission is $4 per person, $10 for a family of four (two adults, two children ages 4-12) and free for Bishop Museum Association members. Members need to make reservations to guarantee themselves space in the program, which is limited to 100 people.

Reservations and payment are due today. Visitors without reservations may be admitted if space allows. Call 848-4136 for more information, or 848-4168 for reservations.