Solar eclipse excitement sweeps Asia

Solar eclipse excitement sweeps Asia

Skywatchers are gathering from parking lots in western India to music festivals on remote Japanese islands to witness what NASA describes as an "exceptionally long" total solar eclipse that will cross half the planet on Wednesday, CNN reported.

People try out "solar view goggles" ahead of the eclipse on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India.

"This eclipse has the potential to be observed by more people than any eclipse in all of history," said MIT astronomer Richard Binzel, who will be in Shanghai leading an expedition of observers and a group of eclipse chasers.

"Essentially, every inhabitant of all of India and China will be able to see at least part of the sun covered throughout the day," he said.

The path of the total eclipse will stretch across the heart of Asia -- from India's Bay of Cambay, over the Himalayas and across China and the southern islands of Japan.
Though the instance of greatest eclipse will occur over the Pacific Ocean at six minutes, 39 seconds, people in some areas of China and Japan will experience up to more than six minutes of darkness, according to predictions by Fred Espenak of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and J. Anderson of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The 15,150-kilometer (9,415-mile) journey of the moon's shadow across the Earth will last nearly three-and-a-half hours and be "one of the longest eclipses, if not the longest eclipse, in this century," Binzel said.

Forecasters predict stormy weather for Wednesday morning in Shanghai, but this prognosis has not deterred astronomers and tourists from flooding the city. Send us your photos of the eclipse

Professor Zhao Junliang of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory said the weather could be unpredictable but staying away from such an historic event would be a mistake.

"In 1987, I chased a total solar eclipse in (the western region of) Xinjiang. At the time, the sun was entirely blocked by stormy clouds. Two minutes before the eclipse began, the clouds suddenly cleared," Zhao said. "You just never know, so you have to go." Read blog on how eclipse-chasers are gambling on weather

Rick Gille and his wife flew in from Atlanta, Georgia, to catch the eclipse in Shanghai. They were heading to what is known as the "centerline" -- where the eclipse will last nearly six minutes.

They are armed with high resolution digital cameras and telescopes. "You'll know us when you see us," said Gille, who travels the world chasing solar eclipses. "We're all wearing beige t-shirts which read 'Eclipse 2009.'"

Total eclipses happen about once a year or a little less often somewhere on the Earth's surface and are visible in a narrow band, Benzil said.

"This band starts at sunrise in India and ends at sunset over the Pacific, just east of Hawaii about four hours later. The shadow path of the moon is sweeping across the surface of the Earth at about 3,000 kilometers per hour," he said. "The partial eclipse is also visible throughout Thailand and Vietnam, as far south at the top tip of Australia and as far north as Siberia."

In some cultures, legends and folklore surrounds eclipses.

In India, an eclipse is considered inauspicious. Women forbid pregnant daughters-in-law from going outside out of the belief that their children could be born with marks. Some temples won't offer any prayers on the day of an eclipse -- such as the one next to the planetarium in Mumbai, which said it won't even light a stick of incense.

In Chinese tradition, there is a story about a heavenly dog eating the sun. As the story goes, people would make noise to scare off the dog and rescue the sun, said Bill Yeung, president of the Hong Kong Astronomical Society.

"In ancient China, we shared the same impression with our Indian friends that a solar eclipse was not a good thing," he told CNN.

Some of the more unusual ways to see Wednesday's eclipse include a cruise ship that will travel along the centerline off Japan and from aboard a 737-700 chartered plane in India.

"The aircraft will be intercepting the middle of the eclipse shadow at 0626 IST (Indian Standard Time) at a height of 41,000 feet," travel company Cox and Kings India Ltd, which is organizing the flight in association with Space technology and education Ltd, said in a statement.

"Eclipse chasers sitting along the Sun Side seats of the aircraft will be able to photograph the eclipse; while the chasers sitting along the Earth Side seats will be able to photograph the Lunar Shadow moving over the Earth cloud top," the company said.

More conventional viewing parties in Shanghai have been planned along the beach, in a park and in skyscrapers. A music festival has been organized in Japan's Amami island, with more than 6,000 people expected, and Japanese television has shown rows of tents set up on Akusekijima island.

The witnesses of the eclipse will range "from the farmer who only knows legends of eclipses and may not know this is happening at all to the world's experts who have come specifically to the Shanghai region to make the most detailed scientific analysis possible," added Binzel, the MIT astronomer.

For James and Kathy Scheffler of Kokomo, Indiana, solar eclipses are not to be missed. They have seen six eclipses, including in Aruba, the Black Sea, Madagascar and the Egyptian-Libyan border, and are now making their way to Shanghai.

"When it happens, there is this dissonance that is set up between what your body knows is supposed to be light and what your eyes are seeing -- it's suddenly gotten dark. It's a very, very strange feeling that some people have likened to a religious experience, and you get kind of addicted to that," said James Scheffler, a cardiologist.

"It's a very interesting emotional experience as well as the beauty of the event." Kathy Scheffler added: "It's an experience that, first of all very few people in the world will see it, and second of all, it's a once in a lifetime -- ever -- experience that you can't ever duplicate because they are all so different."

Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Loading Bars
Kazakhstan’s FlyArystan launching direct flights to Georgia
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy printed materials
Azerbaijan's Aghdam needs to be fully rebuilt - German historian (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's PM meets with BP's regional president
Ukraine may take part in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
President Ilham Aliyev: Pakistan was among countries that openly supported Azerbaijan from first days of confrontation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Sudan due to send first delegation to Israel next week
Liabilities of Bank Melli Iran’s Baku branch increase
Armenia obligated under int'l law to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan - Matthew Bryza
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil's Sadi village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan, Ukraine discuss full resumption of mutual flights
Oil exports via Barents Sea in Lukoil system increased
Hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan needs young experts for technologies - ministry
Azerbaijan shares latest data on mine clearance work carried out on liberated lands
Co-op between Iran, Russia to be effective in activating nuclear deal – Rouhani
2021 demand for OPEC crude to be higher than in 2020
Assets of Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Azerbaijan increase
On Independence Day eve Israel's population over 9.3m
Iran still waiting for S.Korea to provide solution, release its blocked assets
Azerbaijan issues data on number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,457 more COVID-19 cases, 2,002 recoveries
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2021 liquids supply
Rosatom can take part in developing green energy in Azerbaijan - expert
Repairing of last well in Iran's Naft Shahr field launched
Iran in favor of strengthening relations with Russia – President Rouhani
Azerbaijan Railways builds co-op on transiting additional goods
IMF talks forecast of money supply growth in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022
European Hydrogen Backbone’s updated cost revealed
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's oil, non-oil GDP
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port down
Azerbaijan expects tourism sector to recover by summer
Plan on budget revenues surpassed in Kazakhstan
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Around 70% of European infrastructure to start transporting hydrogen
U.S. will base 500 additional troops in Germany
Russia documents 8,173 coronavirus cases in past day, lowest figure since September 28
Kazakhstan names value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Iran's mobile phone imports increase
Azerbaijani president signs order on hosting European Football Championship matches in Baku
Kazakhstan drafts pricing rules for exported crude oil, gas condensate
Retail trade indicators decrease in Kazakhstan
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan records decrease in oil output
Belarusian IT company keen to expand its activities in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company announces its production plan
Uzbekistan building modern wastewater treatment facility at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy engines
Russian, Azerbaijani military discuss Iskander-M missile debris in Karabakh region - Russian official
Greece can take slightly more than 1 mcm/d via TAP
President Ilham Aliyev: Liberation of territories will be additional opportunities
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenians did it deliberately in order to erase legacy of Azerbaijani culture in order to erase these territories from our memories
Together with Russian president, we discussed issue about Iskander-M missile – Azerbaijani president
TAP supplies to Greece cause contraction in LNG imports
Kazakhstan attracts investments to develop national parks in Almaty region
European Commission makes statement on TAP
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency allows flights from Irkutsk to 3 countries
President Ilham Aliyev: I had a strong feeling during negotiations that Armenia doesn’t want a solution
President Ilham Aliyev: I think we need to be more active in order to try to build bridges
ADB focuses on renewable energy projects in Georgia
US eyes to continue negotiations on direct flights with Georgia
Bank of Georgia discusses revised outlook for country’s economic growth in 2021
Anabechdi company plans to produce textile in Georgia
Georgia to receive significant funds from IMF
Azerbaijan reveals 2M2021 data lending to energy, chemistry, natural resources sector
Georgian E-Space company looks to export its software
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 65,000
Amount of Georgian bonds held by foreign investors up
JSC "Georgian Railway" reveals financial indicators for 2020
Uzbekistan, Russia discussing joint projects on aircraft construction
Iran's propane gas exports shrink
Armenia committed ecological terror during occupation of Azerbaijani lands - Ecology ministry
India, EU reiterate commitment to democracy, freedom and respect for human rights
Bangladesh: Multinational military exercise 'Shantir Ogroshena 2021' concludes
Turkey’s export of grains, legumes to Iran jumps
PM Modi to inaugurate virtual Raisina Dialogue, 50 countries to participate
US to support Georgian farmers, small business owners through agrotourism
External merchandise trade down in Georgia
New buildings of Turkmen Turkmenbasy, Senagat banks opened
Turkey's 1Q2021 export of chemical products sees increase
Iran's polyethylene exports rise
Georgia assists new ferroalloy enterprise in Terjola through "Produce in Georgia" program
Azerbaijan issues data on compulsory non-life insurance for Feb.2021
Foreign currency demand of Azerbaijani banks rebounds
Azerbaijan's revenues from customs duties increase
Azerbaijan's Feb.2021 lending to agriculture grows
Azerbaijani Customs Committee increases transfers to state budget for March 2021
Air France-KLM prices capital hike at 4.84 euros per share
Value of Uzbekistan's 1Q2021 import of Turkish ready-made clothes up
Volume of loaded, unloaded cargo in Iran’s Amirabad port decreases
Iran boosts pistachio exports
Azerbaijan to restore hydrological observation network in liberated Karabakh
Iran declares data on methanol exports
Iran ta launch several water and electricity facilities
Azerbaijan sees decrease in prices for gold, silver
Azerbaijan's Digital Trade Hub working on advancing business opportunities
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
All news