Total solar eclipse in Shanghai

July 22nd, 2009

The days leading up to the eclipse on the 22nd were hot and sunny, with no clouds in the sky, but it was all just a big tease. The clouds started rolling in on the evening of the 21st, and grew thicker and thicker through the night and the next morning until, just as the moon started to cross the disk of the sun, the clouds opened up and it started to rain. Nick and Max had flown out to see the eclipse, so they must have been a little disappointed. I just had to walk to the university track, but I was disappointed. It would have been cool to see the shadow of the moon racing across the earth, and to see the stars come out. There’s always Argentina next year.

It was still interesting to see all the dragonflies gather in the air and to watch as night fell for around five minutes. The building and traffic lights came on and it really looked like midnight.


A guy brought out a huge helium balloon during the darkness and set it free so that it was floating as the light came back. It was a marriage proposal! I thought that was a good idea.


The Chinese word for total eclipse is 日全食, or sun-all-eat. This sounds fairly apocalyptic. The English word eclipse is from Greek ekleipein. I remember this from Herodotus, it means “to leave out” or “forsake”.

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