Difference: ExpedEc010808en (1 vs. 2)

Revision 224 Mar 2011 - SurinyeOlarte

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Total Solar Eclipse, 1st August 2008

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The expedition to China

A team of astronomers from the University of Barcelona have gone to China to observe the total eclipse from Yiwu and to make a live webcast through these webpages. This is the blog of the expedition.

The five members of the team: left to right, Eduard, Ana, Asun, Lola and Peter.

1 of August.

We hope you have enjoyed as much as we have done. In spite of the clouds and all the tension, the totality has been spectacular and we have taken some amazing pictures.

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Until the next time!

And that's all folks! See you next year in Shanghai on the 22 of July. The longest Eclipse of the century: 6 minutes!!!!

31 of July

Hi from Yiwu! The observing site is located here. After two days in Dunhuang, in the middle of the Gobi desert, last night we took a train that has arrived in the early morning to Hami.

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Hami: 3:35 am
The Gobi dessert has left a deep impression in all of us. The old gates of the Silk Road, parts of the Great Wall, the rock formations from the Natural Park of Yadan, the art in the grottoes of Mogao... There have been very intense and surprising days.
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The nothingness
Here in the campament the Eclipse atmosphere is in the air. Thousands of people caring for weather predictions, preparing intrumentation, talking about past Eclipses... Today the sky has been quite cloudy but the forecast for tomorrow is quite good. Let's hope so! .
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Here we are!

We wait you all tomorrow from 10:00 UT!!!

28 of July

We write this blog from the train on the way to Dunhuang.

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Making the best of the train time.
In these last days we have had to change our plans because many areas of Tibetan influence are closed to tourists. We have not been able to visit the Labrang Monastery nor the area of Langmusi. As an alternative we have gone to Xining (capital of the Qinghai province) and visited the Ta'er Si Monastery.
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Tibetan Monastery of Ta'er Si

In this monastery we discovered how they boil water in this area of China. This is quite a renewable energy!

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A cup of tea?
Until now most of our itinerary has been following the Yellow River. The Yellow River, with 5464 kilometers, is the second longest river of China, and one of the longest of the world.
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Yellow??? River

On our way through Lanzhou we had the opportunity of rafting on 13 sheep-skin bladders, the traditional way.

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By land, sea and air, on our way to the Eclipse

To rest from so many high-scrapers typical of Chinese cities, we escape to the Natural Park of Mengda Tian Chi. The main attraction of this Park is the Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi). To reach the lake we walked up more than 2000 stairs. The lake is full of Tibetan praying flags in spite of the majority of people in this area being Muslim.

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Enjoying the view of the Heavenly Lake

During these three days we had Wang as a driver. He has taken us with his minivan all over the place and has been part of the team for a few days.

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Back to Xining after visiting Mengda Tian Chi with our friend Wang

The train we are writing from now, has departed this morning from Jiayuguan, the last settlement of the Chinese Empire in the Silk Road before it gets into the desert. Here we have seen for first time the Great Wall, one of the most awaited places in our trip.

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Thanks to the Great Wall the Silk Road was able to develop
Jiayuguan has a Fortress from the Ming dynasty, thanks to its strategic location.
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Jiayuguan Fortress

Now we are entering the Gobi desert. Next stop is Dunhuang, with one of the most important Budhist grottoes of the world. From here we will go to Hami, in the Eclipse area. Surprisingly we have not seen any reference to the Eclipse so far. The only surprise was to find yesterday in Jiayuguan Fortress the group of Jaime Zamorano of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. They are also in their way to Yiwu to watch the Eclipse.

Come back soon!!!!! Do not forget the webcast of the Eclipse begins at 20:00 in New Zealand time!!! (Around two hours later the Total Eclipse!).

19 of July

Hello from China!!! After a long trip of more than 24 hours, yesterday we arrived to Xian, the home of the terracota army. Fortunately we did not have any problems and all the equipment for the live webcast arrived safely too.

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Hello China!

No doubt this is a country with a surprise in every corner. One of the first was to find in the middle of the street a man with a telescope (and not exactly small!!) using as a base a bicycle. He said he was not an astronomer but a businessman and only showed the beautiful Moon and Jupiter for 10 yuan! Nice business!

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Our first astronomical observations from China.
Today we have dedicated the day to visit the impressive Terracota Warriors: more than 6000 figures of soldiers and horses built around 2000 years ago for Qing Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.
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The Terracota Warriors of Xian.

Tian Kaiping (former astronomer from the Shanghai Observatory, now in Xian) and her husband invited us to a delicious and huge lunch!! Thank you!!!!

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A delicious banquet with Tian Kaiping.
Tomorrow night we will go overnight by train to Lanzhou. Then we will visit the Labrang Monastry, the small town of Langmusi and the Binglingsi. Most probably we will not be able to carry the laptop with us and we will be a few days without any more news.

We know that we have friends from all over the world: Greetings to the pupils of Miss White's Classroom Room 9 Matarau School (New Zealand)!!!

Revision 124 Mar 2011 - SurinyeOlarte

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Total Solar Eclipse, 1st August 2008



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