Posts Tagged ‘22 Jul 2009’

The surreal moment of totality

22 July, 2009

Here’s the amazing moment. We are plunged into total darkness. It’s a surreal feeling because moments ago it was daylight, then everything got darker and darker. You know in your mind that it’s 9:30AM in the morning, and yet, 

Even more surreal is watching the Sun disappear right before you very eyes. Like an alien blockbuster, only it’s happening right before your very eyes.

The moment is so hard to describe. If you ever get a chance, you should experience a solar eclipse in real life.

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The Eclipse that Stopped the Sun

22 July, 2009

The weather was gloomy, but as the eclipse progressed, the darkening sky was definitely NOT due to the weather. Unmistakably, the world was getting darker and darker.

As gaps appeared in the clouds and we caught glimpses of the Sun, the excitement and anticipation grew.

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Even in less than the best weather conditions, the longest eclipse of the 21st century was an awesome sight. An experience one should not miss.


At last, it’s Eclipse Day!

22 July, 2009

Woke up yesterday morning and it was raining! Argh! But still, we headed out to our locations. The SunStopper crew split up — one went to the filming location and the other went to the viewing site.

All around, other people were finding their spot to catch the eclipse. Some of them climbed up the hills. Others found their vantage point on nearby rooftops.

Wherever they were, everyone hoped for the best, that the clouds would part and we would get to see the Sun — so that we can stop it!

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Onwards! To the Eclipse!

21 July, 2009

After a day of talks and workshops, we checked our equipment, packed our gear and headed out to sea, to Yangshan Island, our destination for catching the longest eclipse of the century.

It’s where the Eclipse City crew is also catching the big show. They’ve been helpful, now if only the weather was as cooperative.

Unfortunately, the weather got worse with clouds and lightning as our adventure took us across Donghai Bridge, until recently the longest cross-sea bridge in the world (it’s amazing to see it on GoogleMap, btw).

And now, thunder and rain too.

Anyway, we’ve done our firsts tests and they were a success. We’re all hoping that the storm will rain itself out tonight and leave the skies clear for tomorrow.

It’s our big day! The longest eclipse of the 21st Century! Woohoo!

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Eclipse, eclipse, everywhere an eclipse

21 July, 2009

It’s Day 1 of eclipse activities.

It’s been a morning of workshops and seminars by the top minds in astronomy and solar eclipses. 2009 is the Year of Astronomy, and Pedro Russo, IAU Coordinator for IYA 2009 gave a speech on why 2009 was chosen, followed by Federico Avellán Borgmeyer of Eclipse City, who has travelled around the world catching total eclipses.

Also fun was watching the kids join in the action here in Shanghai. Assembling their refracting telescopes for the big day tomorrow.

Weather still holding out. (Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes also crossed.)

It’ll be a spectacular eclipse tomorrow morning!

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Solar Eclipses Then and Now

21 July, 2009

Photo: McKay Savage

This sundial at the Jantar Mantar Observatory in Jaipur, India was built by the Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1730.

The curved stone at the back lets you read the time in AM and PM, and it is calibrated to the North Star, Polaris.

The Jantar Mantar sundial was used for marking the time and position of the astrologically important stars, planets and constellations and contains 14 major geometric instruments that map the time and location of the sun, stars and planets.

It was also used to predict eclipses.


Today, science has taken us to places we never imagined possible.

We can calculate key moments of the 22 July, 2009 eclipse down to the millisecond. We know this eclipse will be the longest total eclipse of the 21st century, and that the next longer total eclipse will happen only on June 13, 2132.

We can predict and chart the path of totality of the eclipse accurately.

We can predict the percentage of obscuration of the eclipse in over a hundred towns and cities. In English: create a cool animation to show what view of the eclipse each city will get to see.

In this day and age, we can even view the path of totality, down close or way up high, with the aid of Google Map.

And then, to top it all off, when the total eclipse happens along that narrow corridor of northern India, central China and the Pacific Ocean, we can bring it to the majority of the world who are not able to see it via live feed on the Internet. On

‘Nuff said.

22 Jul 2009 Solar Eclipse Animation Shanghai_China_2009Jul21_anim


That’s us somewhere down there. We’ll be on Yangshan Island outside Shanghai, capturing the eclipse to feed back LIVE.

Watch it on, it’ll start at 08:50AM Shanghai/Singapore time , which is 00:50 UTC/GMT.

Shanghai in the dark

20 July, 2009

Shanghai in the dark

No, no. It’s not the total solar eclipse yet. Just Shanghai by night.

But it’s less than 24 hours away!

The Sun Stoppers are in Shanghai

20 July, 2009

We have arrived in China, land of the longest eclipse of the 21st century on Wednesday,22 July 2009. First things first — tweet. (Follow our tweets.)


We arrived at dawn. After some hiccups with our cab — it overheated; Shanghai is in the middle of a hot, hot summer, btw — we made it to our destination, equipment, luggage and all, and set up base immediately.

We had a couple of meetings and started preparations, all for our eclipse team to beam the eclipse back LIVE on come Wednesday morning.

Everyone’s talking about the eclipse, by the way. It’s on television, in the newspapers. Drivers are receiving warnings to prepare them for the temporary darkness in two days’ time.

The air’s a little hazy. The weather’s a bit cloudy. It’s really hot and humid. But everyone, the entire city, is hoping it’ll all clear up for Wednesday morning.

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That’s it for now. We’ve got more work to do. Then a good night’s rest before we set off bright and early for another long day of eclipse activity.

And then off to Yangshan Island, which is our location for viewing the century’s most dramatic eclipse. Woot!

The path of the Eclipse of the Century

16 July, 2009

GoogleMaps has posted the path of totality for next Wednesday’s eclipse! Check it out…

It stretches from Mumbai across India, into central China and out into the Pacific Ocean. You can zoom in and out. Click on any point of the map and information on first contact (the edge of the Moon’s silhouette touches the edge of the Sun), total eclipse, and last contact, will appear.

We are so psyched. We’re still playing with it. So this post will be short.


Eclipse Map

Blue skies, waiting for me…

15 July, 2009

You know how the song goes: “Blue skies, waiting for me. Nothing but blue skies do I see.” And that’s what we hope to be singing up in China next Wednesday morning, 22 July.

To see the spectacular sight of a total solar eclipse, astronomy and solar eclipse buffs plan years in advance. The awesome one set to occur next Wednesday (the longest total eclipse of the 21st century) is no different.

In the past weeks, we’ve met many enthusiasts who purchased their tickets months ago.

Astronomers, from the ones at NASA to academics and students, can crunch the numbers and calculate the science of the Moon and Sun’s movements down to the millisecond.

However, one thing that they can’t be sure of — the weather.

We hope it’s clear blue skies all the way.

Photo: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz