Solar eclipse viewing may be marred in China by rainfall on July 22

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New Delhi, July 21 (ANI): Officials at China's National Meteorological Center have predicted that the cities that had been widely regarded as the ideal places to watch the rare total solar eclipse on July 22, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Hefei and Wuhan, will probably experience rainfall or cloudy weather during the event.

"This indeed will be a great pity if the rare event is ruined by rain or cloudy weather on Wednesday morning," said an expert from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory. "But cities will still be plunged into four to six minutes of darkness by the full eclipse," he added.

An official from the Shanghai Tourist Transport Center said Monday people who bought a tour ticket to watch the eclipse could receive a refund if the rare event is rained out.

The center began selling eclipse tour packages last month with a price of 150 yuan per person.

So far, more than 1,500 tickets have been sold for the eclipse viewing at Yangshan Deep Water Port, which is reported to be a prime viewing spot in the city.

The Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau has decided not to turn on landscape lighting during the total solar eclipse after people said the lights could affect eclipse viewing.

The National Astronomical Observatories have also placed a number of live studios within the path of the eclipse.

In the worst case, people can watch the scene via live coverage on TV or on the Internet.

Most of central China will be covered by a shadow when the moon moves between the Earth and sun. The rest of the country will see a partial eclipse at that time.

The eclipse will be the longest in China in centuries.

A large part of China will be covered and areas along the Yangtze River - including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei and Sichuan provinces, as well as Chongqing municipality - are among the best observing places.

People there can observe four to six minutes of total eclipse. It is the longest one in the past 2,143 years, according to Li Ding, a professor from Chinese Academy of Sciences.

According to Zhao Guang, deputy head of the National Astronomical Observatory, people can witness a total solar eclipse once every 300 years in the same spot and it usually lasts only about three minutes. (ANI)

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