Eclipse of the Sun

1 08 2008

It’s happening today starting at about 6 p.m local Malaysian time. The eclipse of the sun is when the orbit of the earth’s moon takes it in between the earth and the sun. The result is this

Viewed from space or the dark side of the moon, the sun actually throws the shadow of the moon onto the much larger earth. A view to behold I am sure. But for now, the only people lucky enough to enjoy this view are the cosmonauts residing in the International Space Station. The rest of us who are earthbound must satisfy ourselves with views such as those you see above. If you happen to be in the path of “totality” you will be able to look directly at the moon and see the sun’s corona. Caution , looking at the sun at any other time except at “totality” can cause permanent damage to your eyes! We will not be able to experience totality in Malaysia but the good thing is that full eclipse (where is can be viewed) will take place at around 7 p.m Malaysian time, a time when the suns rays are not too intense. To those of you who wish to view this event, please bring along a pair of dark glasses. Or to those old timers like me who used to shoot film, the eclipse can be viewed through exposed film. I am planning to climb up a hill near my home to catch the partial eclipse. Hope I can get a few good pictures of the eclipse tonight. More on this later.

I got up to the hill at 6.30 p.m and by then the sun was already a little orangy colour. Parked my bike and got up to the highest point of the hill facing west. in the next hour or so, I was to change location some 4 times just to get a good view of the sun as it dove towards the horizon. So, did I get to see the eclipse? No such luck. In the end all I got for my effort were some nice, well decent sunset pictures.

Sunset

Sunset


Here are 3 of the better ones. I like the first one best with the strip of clouds just in front of the setting sun. My last location was just in front of one of the Hindu temples on Gasing Hill where I met some priest who were rather interested in what I was doing. I found out from one of them that from the Hindu Calender the eclipse would occur in this part of the world at about 7.20 p.m. That would put the sun just beyond the horizon.

According to the older priest the temple behind us would close during the event ( 7.20 till 8.40 p.m) because to the HIndu’s the eclipse is a bad omen. It is not surprising that many civilizations through history viewed this event with awe and fear, more often than not seeing it in a negative light. The ancient Chinese believed that a dragon had swallowed the sun and had to be scared away by the beating of drums. A famous writer, Isaac Asimov based one of his most iconic books on such an event. The story was called Nightfall and tells of a planet which belonged to a solar system of 6 stars thus was always bathed in sunlight. It’s inhabitants never experiencing darkness . . . until an unseen moon eclipses the only visible sun every 2049 years! Get hold of the book and give it a read, I promise you it won’t be a waste of time. The first time I read it was in my teens and I would still read it now if I come across the book again.

Solar eclipses happen on average every 18 months or so. The next solar eclipse is due to occur on the 22nd of July 2009. I hope nobody gets smart and beats a drum . . . I want to catch the dragon in it’s fiery act of swallowing the sun.

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4 responses

2 08 2008
nenebubuchacha

Did u see the eclipse?

it’s time to use your 80-200..

3 08 2008
virtualmystic

Hello Yong Hua. No, I did not get to see the eclipse for there was none to be seen from this part of the world. But I did manage to get some decent sunset pictures courtesy of the haze. I will post the pictures soon.

4 08 2008
keithkyp

Wow … I like sunset view pictures. Due to the haze-y environment, usually, the color of the sun will be very much different as compares to the normal sun color. Looking forward to your pictures soon …

5 08 2008
nenebubuchacha

Your Comment box is not friendly.
have to login to wordpress to leave a comment.

I would prefer you to enable the other comment box,
which allows people without an account in wordpress to comment easily.

hehe

YongHua

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