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China: the Best Observation Spot of Total Solar Eclipse


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On Wednesday, 2009 July 22, a total eclipse of the sun is visible, and China is one of the best observation spot of the sun eclipse

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China: the Best Observation Spot of Total Solar Eclipse

  1. 1. China: the Best Observation Spot of Total Solar Eclipse Source: On Wednesday, 2009 July 22, a total eclipse of the sun is visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of earth. The path of the moon's umbral shadow begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. After leaving mainland Asia, the path crosses Japan's Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches 6 minutes 39 seconds. The eclipse will be the longest in China in centuries. A large part of China will be covered and areas along the Yangtze River are among the best observing places. Most of central China will be covered by a shadow when the moon moves between the Earth and sun. The rest of the country will see a partial eclipse at that time. A
  2. 2. partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean. It will be the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, and it has sparked tourist interest in eastern China and India. Totality will be visible in many large cities in China between 8:00 to 11:00am. According to some experts, China is one of the "best" places to view the event. In general, people can witness a total solar eclipse once every 300 years at the same spot and it usually lasts only about three minutes. China has a documented history of solar eclipse. In ancient China, eclipse was considered as a sign of misfortune. Solar eclipse appeared only when the court did disservice to its people. And the higher-up officials who failed to report a case of eclipse to the emperor might be subject to the death sentence. According to the development of Chinese science history, the macrocosm such as solar eclipse might be a reflection of microcosm. The underlying theory constituted a unique way of living with nature. In China, it is the universal belief that the balance between man and nature can only be achieved when the outside world is in harmony with human beings. Thus to the Chinese people, solar eclipse is not only a natural phenomenon, but god’s destiny. To dig in the Chinese concept of nature and its relationship to the eclipse, it takes some firsthand knowledge of the Chinese language to appreciate the nuances. For instance, the Chinese character 日, which stands for the sun, is created in such a way that it is a mimicry of the modified shape of the sun. Only people who speak and read the Chinese language are equipped with the proper instrument to examine the
  3. 3. profound meanings of a total solar eclipse. Let’s seize the opportunity of observing the eclipse to learn more astronomy-related Chinese. Biography Dr. Janice Yu, is a senior e-learning analyst of TutorChinese with focus on online language education research. She is also a news editor of the Government Information Office in Taiwan. Previously she wrote columns on international politics and economy in the Central Daily News. In 1998, Yu was a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii and she won the 1999 Distinguished Women Journalist Award from Friends of the East-West Center Foundation. Yu completed her PhD at the University of Iowa and served as a news editor at the China Television Company. Yu has published around 30 books.