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Total Solar Eclipse

India, China & Pacific Ocean - July 22, 2009

The weather across this eclipse track was less than optimal. This created a challege for eclipse chasers and a disappointed for many. There were monsoonal skies in India, overcast skies in China and clouds in the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean.

In Varanasi, India, along the Ganges river, the sky cleared enough to view the eclipse. Above the clouds at 41,000 ft., 74 passengers in a JetLite 737-700 saw totality out cabin windows for 3 mins 55 secs. Chartered by Cox and Kings India Ltd, the flight departed New Delhi at 4.40 am, intercepted the shadow at 6:26 am over Taregna, India and returned to New Delhi. Some window seats sold for 79,000 rupees (about 1,600 USD).

In Shanghai, China, the Science & Technology Museum had excellent displays & information regarding the eclipse. The museum was completely sold out of eclipse shades days before. Street vendors had plenty of inventory and sold eclipse glasses to the public anywhere from 5 to 30 Yuan (approx. 1 to 5 USD). During the eclipse, early morning dense fog turned into drizzle then heavy rain as the temperature dropped. Darkness fell on a population of over 19 million. A lucky few managed to catch glimpses of the eclipse south of Shanghai at Jinshanwei beach, Hangshou and environs to the west. Chongking, China was one of the better areas in China to view the eclipse.

Out at sea, the Costa Allegra cruise ship was encircled by clouds and rain. Northeast of Iwo Jima (aka Ioto), the Costa Classica, Fuji Maru and Asuka II cruise ships maneuvered into a patch of blue sky and were successful in viewing the eclipse at its greatest duration (6 min, 39 secs of totality). Near Marakei island, the MV Super Carrier dodged clouds (4 min 7 secs of totality). East of the International Date Line (July 21, 2009), the MS Paul Gauguin cruise ship was positioned north of the Cook Islands and near the end of the eclipse track. 300 passengers and 200 crew members of the MS Paul Gauguin witnessed 3 min 24 secs of totality with the sun and moon 7 degrees above the horizon.

Total Eclipse from the Costa Classica

Photo Details: Nikon D300 370mm f6.3 1/160sec ISO 1600

Other Links regarding this eclipse:

Daniel Fischer, Cosmos4U: http://cosmos4u.blogspot.com/2009/07/longest-total-eclipse-of-century-seen.html

Cox & Kings India Ltd. travel company: http://www.coxandkings.com/live/promos/solar_eclipse/?link=index.php

©2009 BBC VIDEO, Totality in Varanasi, India: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOvWioz4PoQ&feature=related

©2009 NHK TV VIDEO, Totality in Iwo Jima, Japan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-stDw1N36O8

©2009 NHK TV VIDEO, Asuka II cruise ship: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYhFdKzq6rM

©2009 Alan Dyer VIDEO, End of totality aboard the MS Paul Gaugin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNKee34bNrw

©2009 CNN/asia.com, Map, video & article: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/21/asia.solar.eclipse/index.html#cnnSTCOther1

Glenn Schneider in Wuhan, China: http://nicmosis.as.arizona.edu:8000/ECLIPSE_WEB/ECLIPSE_09/TSE2009_REPORT.html

Neil Speirs aboard the Costa Classica cruise ship: http://eclipselimericks.com/japan/japan.htm

Sky & Telescope: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/home/51389547.html

Last update 7/25/10