12 Jul 2010

Full solar eclipse seen in the Pacific

10:14 am on 12 July 2010

Parts of the Pacific have this morning experienced a full eclipse of the sun.

The five-minute event was seen in some parts of the South Pacific, with several cruise liners chartering special trips to remote parts of French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and Easter Island to try to secure the best views.

An Astronomer at Canterbury University's Mount John Observatory, Alan Gilmore, says solar eclipses used to offer unparalleled research opportunities for astronomers.

"It was the only opportunity to see the gases around the sun, the corona - that's the glow around the sun. And you could only see that, it's very faint, when the bright sun was completely covered. Now there are satellites that are monitoring the sun all the time. And so, the scientific value of solar eclipses is somewhat less."