Time-Traveling Solar Eclipse Starts in Eastern Asia

May 19, 2012; 8:00 AM
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As odd as it sounds, a solar eclipse will start over eastern Asia Monday morning but will conclude several hours later over the United States late Sunday.

What may seem backwards is actually possible due to the solar eclipse crossing the International Date Line on its track from eastern Asia to the United States.

Regardless of what date the eclipse occurs on, viewing it will be spectacular if the weather cooperates.

Unfortunately, as will be the case for parts of the United States, the weather threatens to ruin the show for some across eastern Asia.

This is the time of year that many in southern mainland China and Taiwan experience their monsoon season, which means plenty of rain and clouds.

Monday morning will be no exception with Hong Kong and Guangzhou missing out on the show.

When, Where to Watch Sunday's Solar Eclipse Across the U.S.
How to Safely Observe the Sun During an Eclipse
Solar Eclipses: An Observer's Guide

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The best viewing conditions will likely be in northeast and eastern China, including the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. These locales will be far enough away from the monsoon moisture and also away from storminess to their west to allow for clear skies.

Japan, farther north, does not have to deal with monsoon moisture. However, the weather is not going to cooperate for Tokyo and many other Japanese communities as well.

A storm system will become situated just south of the island nation by Monday morning and is expected to throw clouds back, especially to places along the east coast.

The sun will transition to the spectacular solar eclipse at the following times, which are in local time and calculated by NASA.

Beijing, China
5:31 a.m.
6:33 a.m.
7:42 a.m.
Shanghai, China
5:15 a.m.
6:20 a.m.
7:33 a.m.
Hong Kong, China
6:08 a.m.
7:16 a.m.
Tokyo, Japan
6:19 a.m.
7:35 a.m.
9:03 a.m.
Taipei, Taiwan
6:11 a.m.
7:24 a.m


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