Strange sights in Northland's skies

By Abi Thomas


From a disappearing sun, to hailstones, to space stations in the darkness, the skies above Northland are producing all sorts of strange phenomena.

Our region was the best spot in the country to watch yesterday morning's partial solar eclipse, which saw Northlanders craning their necks skywards to see the moon covering the sun, making it look like a crescent moon.

It was at its peak over North Cape around 10.20am with more than 90 per cent of the sun covered, and over Whangarei about 10.30am.

Intermittent clouds threatened to block the eclipse from view but most who were out and about saw at least some of its effect.

Social media sites were abuzz with talk of the eclipse, with some people describing an eerie light, and others noticing how the temperature appeared to drop several degrees.

And despite the sun finally starting to prove summer is on its way, a downpour of more than just rain surprised Julie Rouse at her Maromaku home on Tuesday.

A 15-minute hailstorm left their paddocks covered in a white blanket about 4pm.

"We had just got the cows in for milking when it started," Mrs Rouse said.

"The cows weren't too happy, they were being pelted."

Some hail was still on the side of the road yesterday morning, Mrs Rouse said.

Meanwhile, those keen for some night-time sky-gazing may be able to see the International Space Station this weekend.

After the sun and moon, Nasa says it is the third-brightest object in the sky and is easy to see if you know where and when to look for it. At over 300km above the ground, it looks like a fast-moving plane and is best viewed on clear nights.

The next three best sightings for the space station from Whangarei are: Saturday, November 17, at 11.20pm, for under a minute, Sunday, November 18, at 10.30pm, for two minutes and Tuesday, November 20, at 10.27pm, for one minute.

- Northern Advocate

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