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Follow the 2009 total solar eclipse with live webcasts and with SOHO

21 July 2009

The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st Century will take place on 22 July. Totality will be visible from mainland Asia, Japan's Ryukyu Islands and across the Pacific Ocean. This total eclipse will provide a unique and lengthy opportunity for observations of the solar corona from the ground. Many of these observations are relying on simultaneous data to be taken by the ESA-NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft which will be monitoring the entire Sun throughout the eclipse.

View the eclipse via a live webcast from China

One goal of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is to make astronomy accessible to as many people as possible. Even though the eclipse will not be visible from Europe it can be followed live. The Chinese Astronomical Society, supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be hosting a live broadcast of this spectacular event. The webcast will be broadcast from Yangshan Island, south of Shanghai and will cover all phases of the eclipse starting with first contact at 02:24 CEST. At this location totality will take place for 5 minutes and 57 seconds starting at 03:37 CEST.

SOHO supports ground-based observations of the eclipse

A solar eclipse provides a great opportunity for observations of the Sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, to be made from the ground. Devoid of the brilliance emitted by the Sun itself these observations may present rare phenomena otherwise hidden in the Sun’s glare.

Today there is a whole fleet of international spacecraft committed to constantly monitor our nearest star. Views from space not only provide around-the-clock monitoring of the Sun but also make the ultraviolet part of sunlight accessible to observations.

During the 2009 eclipse SOHO will be providing invaluable support to ground-based observations. SOHO data of the Sun, taken at the time of the eclipse, will help with the pointing of ground-based instruments that have a limited field of view and provide a broader context to ground-based observations to aid interpretation of data.

SOHO is constantly keeping a close watch on our nearest star, to find out the very latest images of the Sun visit the SOHO website.


Last Update: 22 July 2009
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