Monday, July 27, 2009

Longest total eclipse of the century - seen by some, missed by many

As had been widely expected, due to the southernness of the totality track and Asia's monsoon, only a fraction of the hundreds of millions living in the zone (or of the tens of thousands who came to visit) actually saw the total solar eclipse on 22 July 2009, though all got to experience often over five minutes of darkness. The deluge of pre-event stories can be found here - here is a first round-up of links five days after the event that won't be topped in length until 2132. As will be seen, clear views were abundant especially around Varanasi in India and between Chongqing and Wuhan in China, though isolated spots in Eastern China also had good views - with the notable exception of the mega-city of Shanghai where it rained during totality. Out in the Pacific there were also successes. Particularly recommended links in the following collection are in italics!

Picture collections in different styles were prepared e.g. by the Boston Globe and the Sacramento Bee (both extra large!), SpaceWeather, Flickr (more), Nat'l Geographic, the BBC, Novosti, the New York Times, the Economic Times (India), the Telegraph,, MSN, IMAM, MSNBC and Discovery (Flash slide-show) - and there were some thoughts on eclipse photographs as such plus a sampling of Flickr goodies (more). Much more material, though, can be found in individual reports & pictures:

From Varanasi (where the clouds cleared just in time) we have a stunning multi sequence, the corona, a picture sequence, another and another one as well as an AFP pic (another and another one), a news story and early and later and detailled reports. From other Indian places come reports from Surat and from Bihar (also a long article and a picture). Also a news story from an eclipse flight (another, another, another, a report, a blog report and a press release) and another scientific two. And more coverage of the eclipse in India in general here, here, here, here.

From Nepal we have a a blog report, from Bhutan another a blog report and a totality pic and from Tibet some pictures & links. From Chongquing or nearby come a report w/pics, the diamond ring at 2nd contact, a wide-angle view during totality and a Xinhua pic. From or near Yichang we have a long story w/pics in Spanish, a report in English and a quoted tweet, while from Changsha a Reuters pic came.

From Wuhan we have a striking wide-angle view (another and another one), corona composite (another one) and more pics, a picture series, a Flickr Stream, another picture series (100 km SW of Wuhan) and more pictures of Baily's Beads at 2nd contact, a hazy and a pretty clear corona, a wide-angle and a fish-eye view during totality and the inner corona & prominences close to 3rd contact. Plus a 9-min video and CCTV on public reax. From Huangzhou come a blog report, from Anqing a picture series w/prominence detail and a report and from Huangshan a blog report and a corona.

From Tianhuangping - site of a major scientific expedition from the U.S. - we have a Williams College Press Release, a NYT blog (note the earlier posts linked there; also this and this one) and fine corona pictures. From Anji come a corona pic, more pics and a wire report on successful Indian experiments there, and from Hangzhou we have a nice contact picture and another picture plus a German radio report.

From Wuzhen - where yours truly was located - we have my pictures and reports and more from the same site by B. Brinkmann and K. Schulze-Frerichs as well as a video clip of 2nd contact. There are also some impressions from Water town west with a video clip, an i-report and a TwitPic. From Jiaxing come an Austrian media story, from Suzhou pictures and a German blog entry and from Sheshan a U.S. magazine's report (by a Shanghai blogger).

From rainy Shanghai little of substance was found other than a wide-angle view of the dreadful sky, a German newspaper's account and a confused blogger's (another one). From cloudy Yangshan a report. From large unsuccessful Jinshan on the coast we have a long, a short, another short and a German blog report, some some pictures without and some with the corona and a long slide show. From over the Hangzhou bridge come a report, from Ningbo a Univ. of Nottingham Press Release, a blog report and another one with a video and from Putuoshan island a picture series.

From Japan we have a blog report from Tanegashima and a picture collection. From the ill-fated Costa Allegra ship comes a blog report (and there's a comment on that cruise). From the Marshall Islands we have a report w/pics from Enewetak and a Radio NZ story, from the Northern Cook Islands a great picture of the low Sun (also see the others in the stream) and from Kiribati a report w/pics and another one.

From space come to us a dramatic shadow movie from MTSAT-1R at slow pace as well as pretty hectic, plus two still images of the shadow (also here, here, hier und hier). We also have a deep partial eclipse by Hinode in X-rays (more) and effects of the eclipse on the Koronas-Foton and Fermi satellites. From outside totality on Earth there are a video from Badaling on the Great Wall and reports from Shenzhen, Beijing (more), Xinjiang, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hawaii, Kagoshima and Tokyo. And from outside even partiality online impressions from Germany (earlier).

Further news coverage can be found in a China Daily package as well as here (more), here, here (with links to many other stories like this or this one), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier and hier (mehr, mehr und mehr). Specific articles deal with zoo animals in China (more, also from India; more and more), tidal effects, improvised filters, a magnet storm, the eclipse in a movie, the usual speculations from a certain magazine and an old eclipse inscription claim. And then there were a commentary and a satire ...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Best sunspot in years opens month with record-long solar eclipse

Just weeks after a detailled model predicted the return of sunspots the best one since about two years actually appeared and evolved for a few days before starting to decay: Here are pictures of AR 11024 from July 7 (more), July 6 (more), July 5 (more, more and many more) and July 4 (more, more, more and more); already in early June some activity was seen. Fittingly the Sun "idiots" book has recently become available online for free (also here). The pick-up in solar activity is a good start for a month that also featured the smallest full Moon today that came combined with a very partial lunar eclipse which probably went largely unobserved - but will be followed by the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century. Previews of July 2009's sky events can be found here, hier and here, with the most notable beingStill well visible in July are Noctilucent Clouds of which great displays were seen in recent days, esp. on the morning of July 2 (more and more reports & pics), July 25 (close-up!) and July 23. • In addition, sometimes impressive sky color effects were seen in recent days, caused by a volcano in Russia which erupted June 12: Reports came in e.g. from July 4, July 3 and July 1 and 4. • Meanwhile in Finland an impressive halo was recorded - about the only 'astronomy' possible there in summer.

In other news the first meteorites from the Arizona fireball have been found! There are also updates about the bolide itself - what it looked and sounded like, plus video & pics - from June 29, 27 and 25 and another newspaper story. • New analysis has become available about the Steinheimer Becken impact crater in Germany, which was apparently an iron body and unrelated to the Ries impactor (another story) and the Vitim impact from 2002. • Nice comet pictures show C/2005 L3 (McNaught) very close to a galaxy (the scene 2 days earlier), 22P/Kopff with a long tail, C/2008 Q3 (Garradd) and C/2006 W3 (Christensen).

• Planet-wise the NEB action on Jupiter (this blog quoted!) as an animation, another "ad" for the mutual events of Jupiter's moons and the darkening of Saturn's rings documented while the Sun moves into the ring plane. • Three personal stories involving Alan Hale and a young SN discoverer and a weird "solargraph" picture. • Finally many have imaged the LCROSS spacecraft as results here, here, here and here show - the old Apollo missions, by the way, were also observed by telescopes on Earth.