Eclipse Draws 15K to Siberia

Thousands flock to Russia for rare solar spectacle despite threat of rain
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted Jul 31, 2008 11:01 PM CDT
A street vendor sells sun glasses ahead of a solar eclipse in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on Thursday, July 31, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Prospects of rare total solar eclipse have drawn thousands of sky-watchers to the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, where the moon’s passage between the earth and sun will create 140 seconds of darkness at 5:45 pm local time today. Hotels in the city—Russia’s third-largest—are fully booked, reports the Guardian. US viewers, meanwhile, won't be able to see a full eclipse, but residents of the Northeast may see a partial one at sunrise today.

Spirits are high despite the strong chance of rain, which Novosibirsk’s mayor says will make the city “dark like night” and obliterate the solar phenomenon. The eclipse will start over northern Canada about 4:45 am EST and end 90 minutes later over northern China, sweeping across Greenland, Siberia, and Mongolia as it travels. (Read more solar eclipse stories.)