Clouded skies on 22 July 2009

I went to Shanghai and observed near Pudong airport. We saw the Sun a few times, but not during totality. The picture below is the 'best' I could take home and was taken 9:22 AM local time.

Around 9:22 AM

during totality

During totality it was dark for more than 5 minutes, and streetlights were on. Picture taken 9:37 AM local time.

Total Solar Eclipse 22 July 2009

The picture below shows the path of the total solar eclipse of 22 July 2009. This eclipse will start in India, pass through Nepal, Bhutan, Bangla Desh, Burma, and via China to the Pacific Ocean.


Long Total Eclipses

Totality will be 6m39s at the maximum, making this the longest lasting totality of the 21st century. The total eclipse of 13 June 2132 will be the first to last longer: 6m55s. The eclipse of 11 July 1991 lasted 6m53s. In his book Mathematical Astronomy Morsels III, Jean Meeus devotes chapter 10 to the maximum possible duration of  a total solar eclipse. This maximum varies with time as plotted below. The eclipse of 16 July 2186 will have a duration of 7m29s, close to the theoretical maximum. That eclipse will have the longest totality in the period ranging from 3000 B.C until the year 5000.

            Jean Meeus, Mathematical Morsels III, from table 10.A

On mainland China totality will last from four and a half (West) to more than five and a half minutes (East). The major city of Sjanghai lies within the totality zone, as does the beautiful city of Suzhou. See the map below. The full eclipse path can be downloaded in Google Earth format. Make sure the save the file as *.kml.

Eclipse path by Fred Espenak, NASA GSFC

The planets and star at mid-eclipse in Shanghai