Posts Tagged ‘Total Eclipse’

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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Planets, Total Eclipse, Great Wall of China

18 July, 2009

A breathtaking shot of the solar eclipse of August 2008, taking place over the Great Wall of China.

To stand on the ancient ramparts is a grand experience. To do so with a celestial event happening above would be simply surreal.

Photo: Terry Cuttle (Brisbane, Australia)

This dramatic skyscape was recorded during the August 2008 total solar eclipse. The Moon’s silhouette surrounded by a glistening solar corona hangs above the Jiayuguan Fort along the western edge of the Great Wall of China. Lined-up along the ecliptic plane, all the planets of the inner solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, (and Earth!) can also be seen along with Saturn and bright star Regulus, as the Moon’s shadow tracks across the landscape. Beyond the Moon’s shadow, outside the total eclipse track, sunlight still brightens the sky over mountains on the horizon 30 – 50 kilometers away. Much anticipated, the 2009 July 22nd total solar eclipse will again be visible from China. Planets and bright stars will briefly appear in darkened daytime skies, though a total eclipse won’t be seen from the Great Wall. Still, major cities and populated areas lie along the 2009 total eclipse track that begins in India and sweeps eastward across Asia and into the Pacific Ocean.

Astronomy Picture of the Day posted this in anticipation of the upcoming eclipse next Wednesday. The world is waiting with bated breath. We ourselves are packed and ready to fly up to China.

This will be some event. 4 more days, people. If you’re not in China, watch it LIVE on

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

Will I see be able to see the Eclipse?

14 July, 2009

The total solar eclipse on 22 July 2009 will fall along a narrow corridor through northern India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Myanma, central China and the Pacific Ocean including the Ryukyu, Marshall and Kiribati Islands.

Author: A.T. Sinclair,

Many cities like Surat, Varanasi, Patna, Thimphu, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Shanghai as well as over the Three Gorges Dam, will get to see the total eclipse.

(See the black dot on the animation — that’s the narrow path of eclipse totality, which actually spans over 100 miles wide.)

A partial eclipse will be seen along the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbra shadow.

Depending on how far above or below you are in the penumbral shadow, you’ll catch varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse.

Cities like Dehli, KolkataBeijing, Ulan BatorSeoul, Tokyo, Osaka, TaipeiHanoi, Ho Chi MinhManila, Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur and will still be able to catch varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse.

The closer the city is to the path of totality, the more significant the partial eclipse they will experience. For instance, Chiang Mai will see a more significant partial eclipse than Bangkok because it is nearer the umbral shadow.

Cities in western India like Bangalore and Jaipur may catch only part of the eclipse as it may begin before the sun has risen in those parts.

(Click on cities to see the animation of the percentage of the partial eclipse. The animation links and the graphics below are from HM Nautical Almanac Office and the breakdown by city can be found here.)

Delhi, IndiaCalcutta, IndiaHyderabad, PakistanBeijing, ChinaHong Kong, ChinaTokyo, JapanTaipei, TaiwanSeoul, South KoreaManila, PhilippinesHanoi, VietnamChiang Mai, ThailandKuantan, Malaysia

As for the rest of the world, don’t forget that you can still watch the total solar eclipse. It’ll be shown LIVE at

What do Patna, India, and Wuhan, China, have in common?

13 July, 2009

And the Ryukyu Islands in Japan, too?

Well, they are three of the cities that lie in the path of totality of the century’s most dramatic eclipse on 22 July 2009. At its longest point, the eclipse will plunge the morning into total darkness for 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

To whet your appetite a bit, check out the animations for Patna, India and Wuhan, China below. The times for key points of the eclipse in UT/GMT, as well as local times, are provided below.

Patna, India

Patna, India animation

That was Patna. Now, here is Wuhan.

Wuhan, China

Wuhan, China animation

It’s next week!

13 July, 2009

The Eclipse of the Century  is next Wednesday! Can you believe it?

For those in the path of its totality (those who will see the total eclipse), it’ll take place early in the morning. If you are in Shanghai, here are the times of the key moments of the eclipse.

First contact is the moment the edge of the Moon touches the Sun. Totality takes place when the Moon completely covers the Sun and there will be total darkness during the day.


Author: HM Nautical Almanac Office (

Charge your camera batteries and prepare your B/W film filters. Get your pinhole cameras, welder’s glasses and solar filters ready.

It’s only 9 more days to the century’s most dramatic eclipse!

Photo: Yareite

All-in-one eclipse

12 July, 2009

This is an interesting shot. Instead of doing the phases of the eclipse in a sequence of shots, this one overlays them all. The partial eclipse and the corona shining around the total eclipse.

Solar Eclipse (Photo: R Berteig_

The Total Solar Eclipse of August 1, 2008

11 July, 2009

Here’s something else to watch over the weekend.

The last eclipse that generated a fair amount of publicity was the total eclipse that happened on August 1, 2008. And the Exploratorium went up to China to catch that event. This is what they saw.


(The Exploratorium is based in San Francisco, and it’s a museum of science, art, humans and technology that created the “hands on” movement among museums around the world. About a thousand museums internationally that trace their exhibits or programmes to the Exploratorium. Its mission is to provide the general public, even those with the most limited scientific knowledge, the joy of discovery. And hopes inspire young and old, academic or artist, and provide a better understanding of science and nature.)