UV or not UV? Slap on eyewear to watch eclipse in Bendigo

It’s a rare and potentially dangerous event and precautions must be taken to observe it safely.

Local astronomers are offering Bendigo residents the chance to view the partial eclipse of the sun tomorrow in a professional setting.

The Bendigo District Astronomical Society (BDAS) will have solar glasses and telescopes with special filters set up in the front courtyard of the Discovery Science & Technology Centre from 7am to 9am. 

BDAS president Peter Mead highlighted the potential dangers of viewing the eclipse with the naked eye.

“The eclipse blocks out the sun’s rays so it doesn’t seem bright, but you still get the UV rays coming through. It has the ability to cause blindness,” he said. 

Mr Mead said the maximum eclipse would be at 8.05am, when about 40 per cent of the sun would be obscured by the moon. 

“It’s a pretty rare event that comes around once every several years,” he said.

“The eclipse is a unique experience. When the sun is partially eclipsed it casts all sorts of weird shadows.” 

BDAS will have a projector set up, giving people the opportunity to witness the first total eclipse over the Great Barrier Reef in more than 1300 years. 

Discovery Centre Planetarium co-ordinator Craig Kendal experienced Australia’s last total eclipse 10 years ago in Ceduna, South Australia. 

“It lasted 33 seconds, but it felt like a lot longer. It was worth the travel,” he said. 

Solar glasses will be available at $5 per customer, and people wanting to use the telescope with special colour filters are asked to make a donation to BDAS.

A sausage sizzle will be on offer for those watching the total eclipse over Cairns, which is scheduled to take place at 7.38am.

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