2009 total solar eclipse – the longest eclipse of the century

In 2006 I witnessed my first total solar eclipse in Antalya Turkey. I was lost for words! Tears were flowing! Nothing can make a non-witness remotely understand this event! All the photos and movies in the world cannot prepare you for this experience!

I was hooked!

In early 2008 7 friends and myself decided to go to China with astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard and more than 100 other Norwegians. It was a very long journey to say the least, but of course it was worth it.

We got up long before dawn (3 at night) and drove 2 hours to Tianhuangping reservoir west of Hangzhou. It was cloudy and moist! As we approaced the mountains daylight revealed clouds and then some – no blue sky in sight. Even as we set up our gear around the reservoir the sky is filled with high and low altitude clouds – the high clouds from nearby Cumulunimbus storms (it was raining in almost all directions but our location). As the sun climbs in the sky we see more and more blue sky, and it continues to clear all the way to first contact. There was a high and thin layer of cirrus that obscured the outer corona during totality, but we were able to se the sun/moon 99,9% of the eclipse. Beat that!

The location was amazing – green mountain tops all around and a huge numbers of insects! Ranging from large and noisy cicadas, green grasshoppers and crickets, to huge butterflies (larger than my hand) and of course insect eaters like martins. We also saw 2 falcons. Around the totality we also heard frogs in the forest below the reservoir. This was a welcomed respite from the noise of the huge cities (in which I hardly saw any birds at all, by the way).

This totality was very dark – much darker than the one in 2006. I could also see the light coming towards us at the end of totality. I did not see the reverse – the shadow come, though (there are so many things to observe during an eclipse, in addition to taking pictures). The temperature also dropped considerabely, even though this was in the morning.


Last updated on 25 January 2012