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Solar eclipse on 15 January
(4 January 2010)

An annular solar eclipse will occur on 15 January (Friday), but it will be visible in Hong Kong only as a partial eclipse even with good weather conditions.

The partial eclipse will begin at about 3.33pm, reach its maximum at 4.54pm and end around 6pm, when the sun and the moon descend below the horizon in succession.  This partial eclipse has a magnitude of 0.674, meaning 67.4% of the sun's diameter will be obscured by the moon at maximum eclipse.  Although not as large as that on 22 July, 2009, this eclipse is still rather spectacular.  Air temperature and ambient luminosity may fall slightly during the eclipse, but this will have little effect on daily activities.  Please refer to the attached diagram for the path of the sun and the moon during this partial eclipse.

Details of the partial eclipse are as follows:


 Hong Kong Time



 Eclipse begins



28 degrees

 Maximum eclipse



13 degrees




-1 degrees

Most places with an unobstructed view to the southwest can view the eclipse at the beginning.  To observe the whole event, viewers need to be at a place with the horizon visible in the west-southwest, such as Tuen Mun, Tai O, Lamma Island and top of Tai Mo Shan.

Due to the damaging effect of sunlight, people should not look directly at the sun with naked eyes or through a telescope.  A safer method is to project the sun's image through a pinhole or a telescope onto a piece of white paper or cardboard and view the projection.  An illustration is given on the Observatory's website:

A webcast of this event will be jointly provided by Hong Kong Observatory and Hong Kong Space Museum on the following web page by the time:

The next solar eclipse visible in Hong Kong will be on 21 May, 2012.  It will be an annular eclipse with a magnitude of 0.945.

Please refer to the Observatory's website for a detailed explanation of the technical terms used for different stages of the eclipse: 

Diagram: Partial eclipse of the sun on 15 January, 2010
Diagram: Partial eclipse of the sun on 15 January, 2010

(The above diagram is for illustrative purpose only.  Sizes of the sun and the moon are not drawn to the scale of the background.)



Last revision date: <21 Dec 2012>