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Clear skies forecast for partial solar eclipse

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Clear skies forecast for partial solar eclipse
Photo: AFP
20:29 CET+01:00
The Swiss federal public health office has issued a warning against watching without special protective eyewear the partial eclipse of the sun to take place on Friday morning.

The partial eclipse by the moon, the first of such magnitude since 1999, will be visible in Switzerland from between 9.20 and 11.30am, provided skies are not obscured by clouds.

But the health office this week said that people should not try to look at the partial eclipse without special glasses with filters from an optician, a pharmacy or drug store.

It warned against using smoked glass, regular sun glasses, film or other devices to view the eclipse.

Without proper protection, viewers risk burns at the back of the eye and blindness, the office said.

Optometrists have also warned of the dangers of using smartphones to take photos of the solar eclipse because of similar risks.

In Geneva, the public education department recommended that school directors keep students inside during the eclipse, the Tribune de Genève reported.

Exceptions are being made for schools where teaching staff have organized observations, taking all the necessary precautions.

At its height in Zurich at 10.34am, the eclipse will cover about 75 percent of the sun, while in Geneva 70 percent will be covered.

To see the total eclipse you will need to travel to Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Spitsbergen (an island in northern Norway).

In Switzerland, the partial eclipse at its fullest “will be like a cloudy day”, astrophysicist Willy Benz, from the Centre for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern, told Tages Anzeiger.

MeteoSwiss, the national weather office is predicting clear skies across most of Switzerland on Friday with the exception of the canton of Ticino, where partly sunny weather will be marred by thick cloud cover, according to the forecast.

The next partial eclipse in Switzerland will not be visible until 2021, while the next total eclipse is not until 2081. 

See also: SUN WATCHERS FLOCK TO SVALBARD FOR TOTAL ECLIPSE

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