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Yangshan proves prime location

MIGUEL Carosa, who made the trip from California to Shanghai to see the blurred total solar eclipse, yesterday remained philosophical, saying "it's better than nothing."

Carosa had an occasional glimpse of the eclipse in the Yangshan Deep Water Port area, the best viewing site in the city.

More than 13,000 overseas visitors, 80 percent of them Japanese, came to the city for the eclipse, according to Shanghai Tourism Administration.

Hundreds of overseas observers yesterday gathered in Yangshan, nearly 30 kilometers south of the center of the city.

Crowds in other areas of the city, however, had no sight of the eclipse because of heavy cloud and rain.

People in Yangshan saw stages of the eclipse at least four times, though clouds mostly blocked the view.

"You blink and you miss," said Aaron S. Brown who has seen two eclipses, one in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 2008 and the other in Turkey in 2006.

It took almost an hour for the eclipse to be total, at which time the temperature dropped several degrees Celsius.

It went from gray to darkness about 9:35am.

"I felt good when it got darker and darker ... it was beautiful," said Welz Ludwig, a German electronic engineer who has seen two total eclipses.

As well as locals the spectacle attracted people from Germany, Japan, England, Colombia and the United States.

"I chose to come to Shanghai because they said it would be a perfect place to see it," said Carosa.

This was the fifth time Carosa has seen a total eclipse in the past 30 years.

"I should have went to Chongqing, another top observation spot in China," he said.

Many people watched the sky with special solar-eclipse glasses to protect their eyes against the sun, while others peeked through cameras and telescopes.

Mark Lau, 10, came with his mother to Yangshan to witness the eclipse.

"I'd like to watch the next one," the youngster said.

At other spots around the city

Shanghai World Financial Center

Although clouds shaded the total eclipse, they did not block the enthusiasm of hundreds of people at the city's highest building.

Queues formed in front of the entrance of the 101-story building before 8am yesterday, forcing the tower to impose a visitor volume limit on its observation deck.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," said Liu Zheyu the earliest bird at the center. "I got up at 4am to make sure."

Liu is an astronomy buff and a sophomore majoring in physics in the United States who is in Shanghai on vacation.


Twenty children from needy families stricken by AIDS in eastern China's Anhui Province experienced the eclipse with many others in Xintiandi. The children had already gathered at Taiping Lake about 8am, right after they arrived in Shanghai in the early morning.

They were all excited and had special eclipse glasses. They were selected and sponsored by Chi Heng Foundation and are in Shanghai for a seven-day summer camp.

People's Square

Before 8am, hundreds of people began to gather at People's Square for the eclipse. At 9:14am, it began to drizzle but the crowd showed no sign of leaving.

"I just wanted to see it go dark," said Liu, a handicapped motorcycle rider.

As the sun was totally covered at 9:36am, the crowd cheered.


Hundreds gathered to watch the eclipse on the grass in front of the Guang-hua Building of Fudan University in Wujiaochang area.

Many neighborhood families turned up with children and pets. About 9:40, as darkness fell, cameras flashed under a sea of umbrellas and people cheered.


Of the millions watching the eclipse yesterday, perhaps the most excited were scientists.

More than 150 young science enthusiasts with family members and friends left the crowds behind and gathered at a remote farm resort in Songjiang District.

Yu Zhi is first-year university student from Yangzhou in Zhejiang Province majoring in mechanical engineering. He has been a member of the Science Squirrel Club since August, 2008.

"I was a bit disappointed with the actual eclipse," said Yu. "We watched most of it on TV instead, and went outside when it got dark."


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