Sky-gazers, stand up and pay attention. Remember this date: on July 22, 2009 at 10.34 AM, please converge on the Tianhuangping Pumped Storage Power Plant reservoir in Anji City, Zhejiang Province, for the next total solar eclipse China will experience. This information was released by Prof. Jay M. Pasachoff, chairman of the Working Group on Solar Eclipse of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) while inspecting Anji a couple of days ago, Beijing-based Guangming Daily reported on May 9.
Prof. Pasachoff with students from the Hangzhou High School
Experts have said that total solar eclipses are only visible in a few select spots at one time and return to the same place only every two or three centuries. Thus, the chance to see such a phenomenon comes along very rarely.
The July 2009 eclipse may well be the most magnificent seen in China throughout the 21st century. Sources at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Purple Mountain Observatory estimate it will last five minutes and four seconds and that Anji will enjoy the longest view of the rare event.
International astronomers always prepare to study a solar eclipse, noting every detail of its appearance. Trying to locate the best observation place, determined to be in Anji, Prof. Pasachoff also surveyed Jinshan in Shanghai, Deqing County's Mogan Mountain and the city of Hangzhou. Accompanying him were Dr. Yan Yihua, chief scientist of the National Astronomical Observatories and Dr. Zhu Jin, director of the Beijing Planetarium. After careful calculation, Prof. Pasachoff finally determined that the reservoir of Tianhuangpin Pumped Storage Power Plant, located at 119°35′east and 30°27′north and standing at 758 meters, would provide the best observing site.
"People living in Anji are so lucky since they will see the total solar eclipse for a long time with their own eyes. I will bring a research team of more than 20 people and all our equipment to Anji and share in the spectacle,” said Prof. Pasachoff.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Tingting, May 11, 2007)