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Local News

Crowds Turn Out in Goleta for Glimpse of a Star Attraction

'Deep partial eclipse' draws hundreds of spectators to Camino Real Marketplace to safely view astronomical phenomenon

What happens when a new moon passes between the sun and the Earth? This. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
What happens when a new moon passes between the sun and the Earth? This. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Crowds were queued up 20 deep outside Camino Real Cinemas on Sunday afternoon, but they weren’t there for the opening of the latest hot movie.

The action was taking place on a much bigger screen — the clear blue sky above — and the star that was drawing all the attention was the sun, which was going through a “deep partial eclipse.”

Hundreds of South Coast residents turned out at Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta for a chance to safely view the astronomical phenomenon, which began at 5:34 p.m. and ended at 7:43 p.m.

Members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit set up numerous telescopes and other viewing devices — equipped with special filters to protect against the sun’s harmful rays — and invited the community to enjoy the show.

It was a festive scene, with people of all ages waiting for their turn to see the eclipse, which was caused by the new moon passing between the sun and the Earth.

This eclipse received the added adjective “deep,” according to Chuck McPartlin, outreach coordinator for the Astronomical Unit, because more than 50 percent of the sun was covered at the peak. In this case, the coverage was 84 percent on the Central Coast, he said.

That occurred at 6:37 p.m., and drew a cheer from the crowd when it was announced.

The Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit provided equipment to safely view Sunday's deep partial eclipse. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
The Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit provided equipment to safely view Sunday’s deep partial eclipse. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

While the Central Coast wasn’t plunged into darkness, the way it might be in a total eclipse, the reduced light from the sun cast an eerie light across the landscape.

The next partial eclipse that will be visible on the South Coast will be on Oct. 14, 2014.

» Click here for everything you’d want to know about eclipses.

» Click here for a calculator showing future eclipses.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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