Sunday, June 7, 2009

Solar Eclipse 2009 in Shanghai


Figure 1: The eclipse track overlying the average July daytime cloudiness derived from satellite imagery collected between 1981 and 2000. This map uses the same database as Graph 1. Source: NOAA Pathfinder.

Graph 1: The average cloudiness along the central line of the eclipse based on 20 years of satellite imagery, from 1981 to 2000. This chart augments the data shown in Table 1. Source: NOAA Pathfinder.

Figure 3: Tropospheric NO2 measured from satellite between 2004 and 2007. Nitrogen oxides are emitted by industrial combustion processes and the NO2 concentration contours can be interpreted as markers of smog and haze. Data: SCIAMACHY.

Total Solar Eclipse 22 July 2009

Longest Eclipse of the Century

Click on the picture to enlarge it!!

TSE 22 July 2009

The longest of the 21st Century!

The total solar eclipse on the 22nd of July 2009 will be the longest of the 21st century. Lasting over six and a half minutes at the maximum duration (in the same Saros as the long 1991 eclipse). Starting in India along the western shore near Surat the path of the shadow heads towards Butan touching the southern tip of Nepal and the northern edge of Bangladesh. The eclipse passes over the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Suining, Chonging, Wuhan, Xiaogan, Hangzhou, and Shanghai by which time the duration of the eclipse is over five minutes of totality. Leaving Shanghai the path continues into the ocean encountering islands such as Toshima and Akusaki south of Japan and eventually the Marshall islands.

The maximum eclipse duration of 6 minutes and 43 seconds occurs far off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.

TSE 2009 Animated GIF

For those seeking the maximum time in totality the only option is a cruise ship located east and south of Japan. The mobility of a cruise ship to avoid bad weather well in advance will be very useful.

Stars and Planets: The moon/sun will be located between the constellations of Cancer and Gemini. Nearest to the eclipse will be Mercury, about 9 degrees to the East and shining at a magnitude of -1. The nearest bright star will be Procyon (Magnitude 0.5) 16 degrees to the south. Nine degrees to the WNW will be Pollux (M 1.2) followed by Castor (M 1.6) another four and half degrees further along the same path. Over 40 degrees to the West of the Sun will be Venus shining brightly with a Magnitude of -4. Saturn will be 49 degrees to the East of the Sun at about Magnitude 1.

Observers along the beginning of the eclipse path will not see Saturn. Observers near the end of the eclipse path will not see Venus as it will have already set before the sun and moon.

Climate: Late July is in start of the typhoon and rainy season. Because long eclipses such as this one only occur in the tropics, the anticipated weather is always a gamble. On a good day the sun will shine in the morning and it will rain in the late afternoon. If a storm is settled into the area then the rain and clouds may go on for days. Thus it will be very important to stay tuned to the local weather reports during the time leading up to the eclipse. A more eastern location is recommended (resulting in less totality time) with good mobility being important.

Over land the weather trend is more cloudy than over the sea. The best percentages for cloud cover (the lowest percentage) is found near the end of the path, in the Pacific Ocean (Long: 180 degrees). The only way to observe the eclipse in that location will be by cruise ship or from an airplane. Toward the end of the eclipse path totality is about 4 minutes and the sun low on the horizon.

Clouds 2009

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