Press Release

Total Solar Eclipse 2008 From Xinjiang Province in Northwestern China

By SpaceRef Editor
July 4, 2008
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Live @ the Exploratorium, An Exploratorium and NASA Sun-Earth Connection Forum Event

Solar Eclipse Webcast Broadcasts from the Exploratorium August 1 at 3:30am (PDT), through Totality at 4:09am (PDT)

On August 1, 2008, at 11:09 UT (4:09am PDT), a full solar eclipse will occur as the new moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. The moon’s shadow will fall first on Canada, zoom across Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia, and into China, where an Exploratorium team will be waiting. Since the eclipse is not visible at all in the United States, San Francisco’s Exploratorium brings its fifth eclipse expedition team to remote Xinjiang Province in Northwestern China, very close to the Mongolian border, where the Exploratorium will webcast the eclipse live to the world. From this remote desert on the ancient Silk Route, we’ll point four cutting-edge telescopes skywards to capture the eclipse from beginning to end — in white light, hydrogen alpha (for amazing details), and Calcium-K (to see surface structure).

In addition to live feeds of the eclipse, Exploratorium scientists Dr. Rob Semper and Dr. Paul Doherty will provide commentary on prominences, sunspots, and the corona as they occur. NASA Heliospheric physicist Dr. Eric Christian will show some of the latest imagery of the sun from NASA’s SOHO and STEREO missions, and explain how the solar wind can impact us here on Earth. We’ll also be joined by Dr. Na Wang, Director of the Urumqi National Observatory. From coronal mass ejections to snapshots of the Silk Road to the newest U.S. and Chinese moon missions, we’ll cover it all while watching one of the world’s most awe-inspiring celestial events. As the date nears, please check back at for more details.

The Solar Eclipse Webcast begins at 3:30am PDT (10:30am UT), August 1, continuing through totality at 4:09am PDT. Afterwards, it will be archived on the Exploratorium website. Exploratorium staff scientists and NASA Sun-Earth Connection scientists at San Francisco’s Exploratorium will moderate visitor questions with our China-based eclipse team, conduct demonstrations of the science behind an eclipse, and answer questions, whether in-person or for the Internet audience. This event will capture and actively observe the full eclipse, and investigate space weather and the sun as a power source.

Science centers and planetariums across the country will join NASA and the Exploratorium to participate in the eclipse events via chat sessions with scientists and between museums nationally — a global community that also extends to at home web visitors worldwide. For those who cannot attend in person, point your browser to to witness the eclipse and ask e-mail questions of our scientists at the Exploratorium and in the field. This webcast event is made possible with support from NASA’s Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum, as well as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Jim Clark Endowment for Internet Education, and the McBean Family Foundation. The Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum is a collaboration between UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory and NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, funded by NASA Office of Space Science.

SpaceRef staff editor.