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Eclipse offers rare view of comet

eclipse March 9, 1997
Web posted at: 1:12 p.m. EST (1812 GMT)

MOHE, China (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of people in northern China and eastern Siberia got a rare treat Sunday morning -- a total eclipse of the sun, darkening the skies for a view of the bright Hale-Bopp comet.

Chinese television broadcast the show live, and in Mohe, officials barred residents from lighting stoves to keep the air smoke-free for viewing. But in Mongolia, a snowstorm blocked the view.

It was third reported time in the past 1,000 years a total eclipse has accompanied a close pass by a comet, scientists said. The previous occurrences were in Egypt in 1882 and in Brazil in 1947.

 
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