Solar Eclipse July 22, 2009 | Most Viewed Ever?
Open your eyes to the wonder
Have you ever seen a solar eclipse? It’s quite a site that shouldn’t be missed. Some people go to great trouble to view them, to the point of purchasing special lenses or traveling long distances in search of the optimal viewing experience.
The same will hold true for SOLAR ECLIPSE: JULY 2009
Rebecca Carroll reports for National Geographic that this eclipse will pass over some of Earth’s most densely populated areas on Wednesday, July 22. As a result, it will likely become the most viewed eclipse to date in human history. People in central India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and parts of China will know darkness in daylight then. From Shanghai and Hangzhou, China alone, it is estimated by scientists that 30 million people will witness the event.
Where will it go after China?
Japan’s Ryukyu Islands will be in the eastbound path. Once at its maximum point over the Pacific Ocean, the moon will completely block the sun for six minutes and 39 seconds, according to NASA’s Fred Espenak. In addition to being the most viewed solar eclipse, that 6:39 period should be the longest eclipse so far in the 21st century.
Get ready for the no-sun
Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Massachusetts has been chasing solar eclipses since 1959 as a member of the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration.
“We brought about half a ton of equipment and picked up an equal amount borrowed here from our Chinese colleagues, so there is a lot to get ready,” he added.
How can the moon block out the sun?
Isn’t the sun about 400 times larger than the moon? Why yes it is, Mr. Wizard. However, it’s also 400 times more distant from Earth, so from the ground on this planet, the moon appears slightly larger. This never changes, yet people are still drawn in from everywhere by the “mystery.”
[ad_block type=”horizontal” float=”left”] Rollie Anderson, a retired actuary from St. Louis, is now in China to see his 14th eclipse. “The cosmic coincidence that the sun and moon both appear in the sky as the same size, and then, on top of that, they line up every now and again. … Just the very idea of that is pretty mind-blowing,” he told National Geographic.
As you get to the last several minutes before totality, that’s when your eyes actually start noticing things getting dark around you, and you can feel the air cooling. It gets really dark and totality appears, and that’s when it gets most spectacular. You see a black hole in the sky where the sun used be, and if there are birds around, they may stop chirping, because they think it’s night.
Are you going to make it to China in time to watch the solar eclipse of July 2009?
It’s pricey, so watch out. Travel isn’t getting cheaper, so save your budget from being eclipsed…