On July 21, the Observatory will be presenting a live webcast (from Shanghai, China) of the total solar eclipse on the large screen in the Gunther Depths of Space. The webcast will run from roughly 5:00-8:00 p.m., with totality starting at 6:37 p.m. The eclipse cannot be viewed directly from anywhere in North America. More information about the eclipse is below. Those wishing to see the webcast must come to the Observatory; we regret that we are not able to show it on our website.

WHAT: A total solar eclipse, in which the visible disk of the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon ("totality"). This happens to be the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century (with the longest period of totality lasting 6 minutes and 39 seconds in the Pacific Ocean).

WHEN: July 21, 2009 (local date in Los Angeles; it will actually be July 22 for most of those able to see the eclipse in person).

WHERE: The total solar eclipse is visible ONLY in portions of Asia and the Pacific Ocean. The eclipse cannot be seen anywhere in North America.

Specifically, the path of the total eclipse runs from the western coast of India, across southern China, and out into the Pacific Ocean (from 72 degrees east longitude to 159 degrees west longitude). The width of the path of totality is about 150 miles.

Solar Eclipse Map

TIME: Depends on where you are viewing it; for the webcast being shown at the Observatory, the times are 5:24-8:03 p.m.

Griffith Observatory will be carrying a live WEBCAST of the eclipse from an island near Shanghai, China. The Observatory will be showing the webcast on the large screen in the Gunther Depths of Space, with periodic commentary from Observatory curatorial staff.

The timeline for the webcast is:

5:24 p.m. P.D.T. = First Contact (when the Moon first begins to obscure the Sun)

6:37 - 6:43 p.m. P.D.T. = Totality (when the Moon completely covers the Sun)

8:03 p.m. P.D.T. = Last Contact (when the Moon no longer obscures the Sun)

It is worth noting that July is the height of the monsoon season in southern Asia. That means that the clear skies needed to see the eclipse are far from certain. Observatory Director Dr. E. C. Krupp is leading an expedition that will be viewing the eclipse from a land site near Shanghai. Additionally, 79 members of Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) will be on a ship in the Pacific Ocean to watch the eclipse. Locally, members of FOTO will be watching the eclipse in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: For more information about this total solar eclipse, consider these websites:


Mr. Eclipse: