Total Solar Eclipse in China on 1 August 2008    (Nederlandse versie )

East Nanjing street - a pedestrian shopping area

Shanghai - Pudong skyline

On 27 July we flew from Amsterdam to Shanghai and did the main touristic attractions, while recovering from jetlag. On August 1st we had planned
to observe the total solar eclipse from the Gobi desert. The globe below shows the totality path from Canada to China.

Link to Google Earth file and old page on this eclipse

On 31 July we left a clouded Shanghai and arrived after a stop in Xi'an in sunny Jiayuguan. This was promising for the next day eclipse.

Jiayuguan fort

en route to the Gobi desert

After visiting Jiayguan fort and other sites, and having lunch in the nearby city of JiyQan we left via Jinta to the Gobi desert. We had special passes, and were one of the few groups that was allowed access to the central line of the eclipse.


The Eclipse City camp (40°17' N, 99°23' E) in the Gobi desert. The partial phase of the eclipse started around quarter past six, local time. Below is a short
video impression (1 minute) from my handheld little Canon Ixus digicam. The shadow of the moon is clearly visible and towards the end of totality
the light is coming back from the right.

Sufficient space for everyone.

The series belows shows the eclipse from the beginning until the so-called diamont ring, just before totality. This lasted a bit less than one hour.

2nd contact at 19:13


The totaly eclipsed sun at 19:13. Totality at our location lasted 1 minute and 50 seconds.

the eclipsed sun with planets Mercury and Venus

The picture above shows my Canon 30D with 70-200 zoom and homemade solar filter for taking pictures of the partial phase. I had calculated that using the 70mm would allow me to have the sun and the planets Mercury (above the sun) and Venus (left-top corner) on a single picture.



The picture on the left shows the star δ Cancri shining through the corona. This star of of magnitude 3.9, and normally only visible during clear winter skies.

Note: if you move the cursor on the picture, you will see a negative image that shows the star as a dark dot.


And here, a bit further away from the sun, the star γ Cancri (Cnc) with a visual magnitude 4.7.

Note: if you move the cursor on the picture, you will see a negative image that shows the star as a dark dot.

Fifteen minutes after totality the sun disappeared behind a cloud. In that sense we have been very lucky.

The eclipse end a few minutes past eight p.m. At eleven we were back in Jiayuguan for late dinner and our Jiayuguan International Hotel, where the next day after breakfast we witnessed a chinese wedding with loud fireworks.


Picture of the group in front of the airport on 2 August.


Near Jiayuguan we have visited the Great Wall. This part dates from the Ming period.

Near the first firetower of the Great Wall.

Restaurant in Jiayuguan where every round table was in a separate room

Fruits shop in Suzhou
Street in Suzhou with fruits shop

After the eclipse we spent a few days in Suzhou. Above is the famous  Humble Administrator's Garden build in 1509. The garden measures 5.2 hectares (12.8 acres).  On the right a lake outside near Suzhou where we had a great  cappuchino.


the 33 floors atrium of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Shanghai

Shanghai sunset from the 83rd floor of the Grand Hyatt

From Suzhou we took a fast train to Shanghai where we ended our trip to China in the luxurious Grand Hyatt hotel, a room on the 81st floor and cocktails
and breakfast in the Grand Club on the 83rd floor. On August 6 we flew back to The Netherlands.

Next year Shanghai again?

a useful card to get a taxi back to the hotel