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China the best place to observe longest solar eclipse
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China is the best place in the world to observe the longest total solar eclipse in 2,000 years that will fall on July 22 and last for more than two hours, Chinese scientists said Tuesday.

The eclipse would begin at about 8 a.m. on July, 22 (Beijing Time), and the length of the total eclipse of the sun will run for up to six minutes, said Li Ding, director of the Bureau of Basic Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, at a press conference in Beijing.

He called the eclipse "the most important and spectacular of its kind in this century."

During the eclipse, Chinese scientists would study the sun's chromospheres and corona, and the gravity variations of the solar system's planets, Li said.

In a total solar eclipse, the sun, the moon and the Earth are directly aligned as the sun swings into the cone of shadow cast by the moon.

Observers on the Earth will see the intensely bright disk of the sun replaced by the dark silhouette of the moon, surrounded by a much fainter corona. Eye protection is necessary when viewing a solar eclipse.

The path of the moon's umbral shadow would begin in India, and cross Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar, before it covers China's southern Tibet, central Sichuan Province, southern Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, northern Zhejiang Province and Shanghai.

After leaving China, the path would curve southeast through the Pacific Ocean.

A partial eclipse could be seen in most of eastern Asia, Indonesia and the Pacific.

(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2009)

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