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May 22, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Shanghai must wait 8 years for next eclipse

SHANGHAI observed a partial solar eclipse early yesterday morning when the sun turned into a golden crescent.

The solar eclipse began at 5:15am and ended at 7:33am over Shanghai. The sun changed into a crescent at 6:19am when a large part of the orb was obscured by the moon.

People in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Hainan Province were the first to observe the eclipse, followed by the coastal provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian, where the eclipse was best viewed and the sun turned into a golden ring.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon slides across the sun, blocking all but a blazing halo of light. Shanghai, outside the path of the annular eclipse, saw only a partial eclipse.

The eclipse lasted for about four minutes in China, the longest eclipse in terms of duration for the next 1,000 years, according to astronomers' predictions. It moved across the Pacific and ended on the west coast of the United States.

An observation group of 11 students and teachers from Shanghai Shangnan Middle School went to Putian City in southeast China's Fujian Province for a better view.

The teenagers, from the school's astronomy club, got up at 4:30am and observed the solar eclipse from the roof of a 16-story hotel. They were excited when recording the middle of the solar eclipse.

"The sky was once clouded. The sun jumped from the sea at 5:15am but soon went into the dark clouds. It showed up again at 5:50am," said Zhang Zhengguo, the teacher who led the observation group.

Zhang said the observation group had planned to watch the spectacle by the sea but the country roads were too rough. Another observation spot, however, was too close to highways. "We accidentally found the hotel had a very good view," Zhang said.

Astronomers predicted China will witness another 14 solar eclipses before 2100, including total solar eclipses and annular eclipses. The next solar eclipse will not be seen in Shanghai until 2020, experts said.


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