The 2009 Eclipse : Accounts

A collection of accounts and photos of the 2009 Eclipse sent to this web site by e-mail

Olga Taeubler

Woman travelling for a year with whom we saw the 2008 eclipse in Siberia

Hi Kryss.

But you had a nice bunch of people there!

Just to let you know: I was't much different here:

first part sometimes visible through the clouds (no glasses needed) - plus some rain

totality: visible for maybe 15 seconds then totally hidden in clouds

second part: the clouds started disappearing, visible with the glasses for quite a while and when all was over full sunshine for quite a while !!! (and as you said: before the eclipse 1 week sun and sun and sun....

For me it was the first cloudy eclipse and I didn't know that hey are sooo bad (NO COLORS at all ! :-(

well, next time maybe ... enjoy china!

Best regards, Olga

Hervé Cadene

Family we met in the hostel in Shanghai a few days before the eclipse.

Hello Kryss,

Well I don't know if you remember me (most probably you do) but we have met at Beehome youth hostel around the 18th of July 2009, just few days before the eclipse. You will find a picture of my family with this mail and I'm sure with it you will have no difficulties to put a face on my name. Anyway as we were not together during the 2009 Eclipse, here is our story and after reading yours (on your website) I can say we were very lucky.

So we have left by train on the morning of the 20th of July Shanghai and it's pollution heading south-west to a town called Jiaxing. As Jiaxing is only at 100 km from Shanghai it was a very quick ride but we had a good time with all the Chinese in the train. I would like to underline that one of my daughter (I have four kids) is blond and only two years old. Chinese people love kids in general and no matter where we were going, Cléophée (that's her name) was the attraction for the locals. Blond and two years old is for them a "discovery" and many Chinese have taken pictures of her. Anyway long story short, in the train we had no where to go, so during almost one hour we had to comply with all the people coming to observe our little daughter.

Finally we arrived in Jiaxing and of course first thing we did as we got in our hotel room is turn on the Internet (they was a computer and Internet connection in every room) to check the weather for the 22nd. I must say that reading on every weather site that they expected in the area, rain with 100% cloud coverage for the all day, my wife and I started to look for an other option. Where to go, where would we be able to see the Eclipse (we came to china with the kids more or less for this event) and where was the best "clear" sky probability. Unfortunately they was no plan "B" it seems that the bad weather was going to be every where around and as we were with four kids our movement were anyway limited. I must admit that for a second we thought of going back to Shanghai (as it seems that the weather would have been a little better than in Jiaxing) but then less than 2 days before the Eclipse, all the hotels (within our budget) were full. Finally we have decided to stay in Jiaxing and just see how thing turn out.

On the 21st (the day there was beautiful) walking in the city we have met few foreigners (most of them German Eclipse chaser) and every body was very worry about what nature will do for us (in the case it would be against us) for tomorrow. What can we do, where can we go? In fact there is no solution (to short time) so the only thing is wait and see. Of course our kids (11, 10, 6 and 2 years old) were completely involved in our worry as we explained to them that may be we will not be able to see the Eclipse. Even telling them that our trip in China is a very nice trip, they were some how disappointed as we have been (it was more my wife Sandrine than me) organizing this all thing for the last 6 months. The kids were good because they seriously decided to go and pray Buddha. I must say that I don't "belong" to any religions and don't orient my kids more towards one religion more than the other. Of course they are not blind and when they see on one side "Jesus" hand and feet nailed on a cross and on the other "Buddha" siting with his big smile, big body...etc they feel more confortable trying to ask him something !!!! So we pray Buddha for a good weather at least for the morning. Near Jiaxing (around 50 kms ouest) there is historical city called Wuzhen and my wife wanted to go there. So later on the afternoon of the 21st I have organized a mini bus with driver for all 9 of us (my mother, father, and a friend of them came along after meeting us at the Beehome Hostel in Shanghai) and asked him to meet us the next day(I should say the eclipse day) at 7:30 at our hotel. If we can't see the Eclipse we could anyway go to Wuzhen and with the minibus it would easier for us to move around and may be find a little blue sky hole in the clouds.

Morning of the 22nd. First thing we did as we waked up and most probably like every single foreigners that where in China at that time is looking out of the windows. Clouds, clouds, clouds every where,not a single piece of blue sky miles around . Our room was at the 8th floor and we could really see the clouds from a closer view, there was no escape. I guess Buddha was also on vacation and didn't hear us, at least that is what I told my kids. And it is not because we are facing shit that we must also loss our sense of humour ;-). As we came out of the hotel we had the good surprise to see that our mini bus was already waiting for us. He was not late and at least if we don't see the eclipse we will go to Wuhzen. So here we are driving around the city going to a place where there is a big open space and we finally arrive in front of the city hall. A lot of people were already there waiting for the same thing to start in less than 15 minutes, but with all the clouds blocking the sun there was no chance to see anything. The eclipse started at 8:21 (first contact) and at 8:25 still no sign of the sun. If Buddha was on vacation, the clouds weren't and rain came along. Every body back in the minibus heading anywhere away from the rain. 10 minutes later we stoped near a lake but as we wanted to go out of our vehicle the little rain turned to a deluge. It is useless to fight against nature so we decided to put the eclipse on the side and started heading towards Wuzhen just to make some thing good out of something bad.

On the way there we were facing some heavy rain while somewhere above our head the Moon was meeting the Sun. It's crazy to think about all the thing that must match (size of the Moon compare to the size of the sun, distance Moon / Earth and Earth Sun, position of the Moon and the Sun) in order for the eclipse to happen, and only few hundred meters of clouds can spoil every thing.Time like always was running and at 9:30 as we almost arrived in Wuzhen, it stops raining. As I didn't want to spend the few minutes of the total eclipse inside a mini bus driving on a chinese road I ask the driver to stop right away. Here on the left side of the road there was a gaz station being build and the driver engaged his vehicle there. I was sitting behind, between my two youngest children and couldn't get out right away. Sandrine my wife was in front (as she speaks chinese and it's easier this way to give indications to the driver) came out of the minibus first. As she came out she shoulted WE CAN SEE THE SUN. In less that 2 seconds every body was out of the bus, even all the things that were on the sits (things to eat, paper, books, rain coats) ended up out side on the floor. But really in this moment nothing matter.....we could see the Sun. They was a hole in the sky just where the sun was and we could see a small "croissant" ( for a french man is good to have the "Croissant") of what was left of the Sun. Of course we hope that the clouds freeze so we could enjoy the rest of the event or at least the next few minutes.

Map showing where Hervé and family saw the eclipse (scale 1cm = 180m approx.)

Now what is left of the Sun is just a small white, bright, beautiful arc and the second contact Moon Sun is just about to arrive. Every body is very excited, we are in the middle of no where, they is no body around (even if the gaz station is being build there is no worker here today) and we are about to see the Total Eclipse if the clouds just stay as they are for an other few seconds.

Here it is, second contact, the night just drop fast as a blinking eyes lids, every thing around us is dark and we start to enjoy what we came here for with no cloud blocking the scene. Just great, the kids are all excited as we are looking the sky without the special eclipse glass protection. Finally during the all time almost 6 minutes (5 minutes 51 to be precise) we could enjoy the eclipse and the clouds didn't came to disturb the magic of the event. I guess Buddha must have come back from vacation, but the crazy thing is that few second after the end of the total eclipse (few second after the 3rd contact) the cloud came back between the Sun and us and we couldn't see any thing any more. Doesn't matter we saw the most exciting part of this event if the pre, and post-eclipse seen are really beautiful to observe.

Totality (5m 51s)

So Kryss, here was our story and I'm sorry for you and your group not to have been able to enjoy the eclipse like we did.

Please give my regards to Talaat and hope to meet you again in the future may be for another eclipse.

Take care, Hervé

Left to right: Cléophée (2 years), myself, my wife (Sandrine), Morgane (my older daughter 11),
Ysaline (6 years), my mother (that you also met at Beehome), César (my son who is 10),
Josette (friend of my parents) and my father.

KryssTal Reply: Hello, Hervé.

What a lovely story. I am so happy for you that you saw the eclipsed sun and the corona. Did you see any diamond ring, planets?

We have found that next year's eclipse is too expensive to get to so we are now preparing for Australia in November 2012.

Take care and best wishes to all you and your family.

Kryss, Talaat

Ivar Andersson

One of our eclipse group whom we met at the hostel in Shanghai.

Hi Kryss!

I just got back home from China and have been checking out your website, good stuff!

The rest of our trip was good but I'm so sick of trains right now (especially since we had a standing-ticket on a 26 hour ride from Guilin to Xi'an ). I got a pretty good video of second contact. About my claim to be in the Turkey photo, I'm convinced that I found myself sitting on a rock with no shirt on (I think I see my left arm tatto) and I recognize the guy on my right but I can't be 100% sure with that low resolution.

2006 Eclipse
Ivar told us that he is with the group visible between the first two columns
(left to right) of the temple in 2006 (Turkey).

Anyway, nice meeting you and hope we'll meet at some other eclipse some day.

Over and out, Ivar.

Jack Narvi

One of our eclipse group whom we met at the hostel in Shanghai.

Hi, thanks for sharing the photos and vids of the eclipse, I had returned to Taiwan a week ago. However, I had a malfunction with my laptop, that's why it took me so long to process the photos I had took in Shanghai. Now, I uploaded to my album, is a Taiwanese net-society site, click on the globe icon on the upper-right corner, you can change the display into english.)

You can download the pictures whichever you want. Remember, you CANNOT access in China, it might be blocked.

If you have any problems with the photos please do not hesitate to inform me.

Best regards, Jack

Totality Beginning Totality Middle Totality End
The passage of the Moon's shadow.

Jack (during totality)
Jack (during totality)

The group post-totality (with Kryss doing a telephone interview with China Radio International).

Robert (Bob) Solomon

Contact from FaceBook who was at Jiangxian.

I hope you had better viewing than I.

Totality was raining, but we did see views of partial eclipse afterward, between breaks in the clouds. I heard it was clear for just enough time in Hangzhou, and Shanghai saw the same rain I did in Jiangxian.

On to Easter Island, or Tahiti. Then Australia!


Mark Griffiths and Lucy

Couple from China Radio International who flew from Beijing for the eclipse.

Kryss and Talaat. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality. Lucy and I had a great time and we have both been talking about the experience, and you two, on our shows in china radio international today.

I am reading your website - saw the pictures of the eclipse people too - what great memories of a unique 24 hours.

All the best, and do get in touch if you have time when you're in Beijing.

Mark and Lucy

Mark Taylor

One of our eclipse group whom we met at the hostel in Shanghai.

Extract from Mark's China diary:

Today is the day of the eclipse there were about twenty of us from the Hostel a real International group from all parts of the World, it was an early start two mini buses of us it was about 06:15 if I remember, it was going to be about an hour's drive to Jinshan beach there were crowds of people going onto the beach with telescopes and forming their own areas.

We went down to the water front it was very bright over cast with some cloud it was about 0800 hours, all there was to do was to pray and wait for the sky to clear, we were all excited in anticipation of seeing the eclipse totality, close to the start of the eclipse we could hear the cheers and clapping of other people further up the beach this was the start of the eclipse, shortly with some cloud movement we also saw the Moon slowly covering the Sun, this happened several times before the cloud completely covered our visibility it was amazing quick the darkness descended upon us, all the birds and dragon flies had quickly disappeared and even though we were all expecting it, it did seem to be a very eerie experience everyone on the beach was shouting clapping and generally going a bit crazy, it was an absolute pitch black we could hear the sea boiling with all the fish splashing around confused with the darkness and the flashes of people cameras and later all the lights come on the promenade lights come on automatically it didn't, seem to make much difference as it was still very black, and it was the first time of the whole time I had been in China that I actually felt cool and everyone agreed with me.

The light slowly come back in steps and in no time we were back to full daylight and that incredible heat, all the shouting, cheering and clapping subsided it was all back to normality everyone were gathering up their belongings and we started to make our way up the beach it then started to rain and become heavy, everyone on the beach started to run to the promenade where there was shelter all along the front, by the time we got to shelter it had turned into a fully fledged thunder storm with very heavy rain very strong wind and plenty of thunder and lightning this was a very damp end to our eclipse day, we made a dash for the mini buses on our drive back Mark Griffiths and his girl friend Lucy who worked for a local radio stations both gave interviews using their mobile phones which were being transmitted live and I must say they both gave first class commentary of the eclipse event which we had all just witnessed, back at the youth hostel we all dried out and rested.

KryssTal Related Pages

The 2009 eclipse main page.

Maps of the path of the 2009 eclipse from Fred Espenak and eclipse details at the observation site.

People from the 2009 eclipse.

General photos on eclipse day and newspapers.

Accounts of the 2009 eclipse sent to this web site.

Travel photos from China.

This page features general emails sent to the KryssTal Eclipses web site. Incuded are comments about the web pages (both good and bad) as well as questions.