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Students shine light on solar eclipse

[ 2009-07-16 11:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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When a leading astronomer wanted to know the best place to watch next Wednesday's total eclipse of the sun, he looked in a guidebook written by three Chinese teenagers.

The result? Jay Pasachoff, head of the Solar Eclipse Working Group for the International Astronomical Union, will be in China on July 22 to watch the longest solar eclipse until the year 2132.

"They provided detailed information for astronomical researchers and lovers all over the world," said Pasachoff, who visited the students' school in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. He will watch the eclipse at nearby Tianhuangping in Anji county, one of 23 sites recommended by the students.

The July 22 eclipse begins in India, then passes over Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar before arriving in China and finishing over the Pacific Ocean.

Chinese cities and villages from Chengdu to Shanghai will experience a total eclipse. Other cities, like Beijing and Hong Kong, will see partial eclipses of about 75 percent.

The total eclipse will block out the sun along a path more than 200 km wide across China. It will last from three to five minutes, depending on location.

"A record number of people will watch the solar eclipse, since previous total eclipses were best observed in desolate regions," said Wang Sichao, an expert with the Purple Mountain Observatory based in Nanjing of Jiangsu province.

The three Chinese students of Hangzhou Senior High School started their project two years ago. They traveled 1,400 km along the path of the eclipse in China with GPS devices.

"Eclipse-observing groups from India, Japan, Sweden, Denmark and Germany have chosen observation sites based on our recommendation," said Lin Lan, the students' supervisor.

"We felt like we are hosting friends to watch the eclipse. So we tried to evaluate the sites to help visitors enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip," said Cai Tingni, one of the three students who wrote the guidebook.


1. When will the next solar eclipse occur?

2. What country does the eclipse begin in?

3. How long will the eclipse last?


1. 2132.

2. India.

3. From three to five minutes, depending on location.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Students shine light on solar eclipse

About the broadcaster:

Students shine light on solar eclipse

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.