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  Monday, August 19, 2019
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Russia's astronomers are getting ready to record a total solar eclipse in the country's southern regions
Russia's astronomers are getting ready to record a total solar eclipse in the country's southern regions. Sky-watchers in regions stretching from the North Caucasus to southern Siberia will see a total eclipse of the sun, while in Moscow the eclipse will only be 65% complete. "In Moscow, the eclipse will occur at 15.30 [11.30 GMT]," said the press service of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation. The eclipse will be seen first in Brazil, at 8.35 a.m. GMT. From there, the moon's shadow will move across the Atlantic and north Africa, and cross the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey, where it will be most spectacular. The astronomical phenomenon will end at 15.47 Moscow time (11.47 GMT) in the Siberian regions of Altai and Tuva, having traversed Karachay-Circassia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Daghestan in the North Caucasus, as well as the southern regions of Stavropol, Kalmykia, Astrakhan, and Volgograd. Some 200 astronomers from across the world are expected to arrive at the Turkish city of Antalya on the Mediterranean, which NASA has said will be the best point for watching the total eclipse. The American space agency has put several telescopes near the resort city and plans to broadcast the event live. Russian experts will also watch the phenomenon from a Turkish observatory in the mountains around Antalya. The eclipse is scheduled to last 3.11 minutes in the region, some way short of the longest recorded solar eclipse, at 7.31 minutes. In St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, only 50% of the Sun's surface will be covered by the Moon's shadow, at 14.11 local time (10.11 GMT). "We will hardly notice that the Sun will be shining less brightly," Nikolai Zheleznov, an astronomer, said, adding that the phenomenon should be watched in special glasses or through tinted glass. He also said that dark filters would be put on telescopes in Russian observatories in the Caucasus, which would help scientists do more accurate research. Some 200,000 tourists have flooded into Antalya to watch the eclipse. Special ultraviolet glasses have been selling briskly in the city, with more than 100,000 pairs being sold in the last few days alone. Local residents, however, fear a repeat of the devastating earthquake in northwestern Turkey that followed an eclipse in August 1999. Although scientists have said there is no proven link between solar eclipses and earthquakes and have called on people not to panic, residents of Niksar, 400km east of the capital, Ankara, have started putting tents in the streets.
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