The combination photo shows the total
solar eclipse occured in Jinta County of Jiuquan City, northwest China's
Gansu Province, on Aug. 1, 2008. The total solar eclipse, the first that
can be viewed in China in the new century, occured on Friday. (Xinhua/Han
YIWU, Xinjiang, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of
astronomers and tourists witnessed a total solar eclipse on Friday evening in
Yiwu County of west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It lasted two
minutes, according to the China National Astronomical Observatory.
In Yiwu, one of the best observation places, the
eclipse occurred at 7:08 p.m. when the moon covered the sun, Zhao Gang, vice
head of the National Astronomical Observatory under the Chinese Academy of
Sciences (CAS), said.
Thousands of sky gazers from more than 10 countries
gathered at an observation square that opened on Friday in Yiwu.
Zhang Bo, a middle school student who came from
Shenzhen in the southern Guangdong Province with his teacher and classmates, was
excited about the atmosphere. "My dream is to become an astronomer to explore
the secret of the universe."
The CAS observatory had earlier announced that Hami
in Xinjiang and Jiuquan in neighboring Gansu Province would be the best places
in China to observe the eclipse.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between
the Earth and Sun, totally or partially blocking the Earth's view of the Sun.
The next total solar eclipse will occur in China in January.
The solar eclipse on Aug. 1, the first in China in
the new century, was visible in Chinese territory at 6:59 p.m. Beijing Time.
Besides Xinjiang and Gansu, people in several other regions, such as Shaanxi and
Hong Kong, could also see a total or partial eclipse.