The “people’s eclipse” was to begin this morning at 8:23, become total around 9:37 in Shanghai, and finish around 11:00. Visible across India and China, it was to be seen by more humans than have ever witnessed such an event before. The last one visible in Shanghai was in 1575 during the Ming Dynasty, and the next one will occur on June 13, 2132.
I had my doubts, given the fact that you can’t see the sun on most days here through the smog, but our family traipsed down to M on the Bund for a Total Eclipse Brunch. (The brunch itself was certain to be worthwhile.)
From our balcony at our house, things weren’t looking too promising at 7:23. Dou yun, cloudy.Still, down at the Bund, people had their cameras out and the vendors of fake designer sunglasses gestured hopefully.
Upstairs on M’s terrace, Shanghai’s most famous view (and the sun) were shrouded in clouds.
But we tried on our eclipse sunglasses
and joined the party.
As the moment for the eclipse to go total moved closer, so did storm clouds. It was getting darker up the Huangpu than around the sun, or at least where the sun was supposed to be.
By 9:28, the rain hit. Those lucky folks who called early and got the outside tables joined the rest of us inside.Except, of course, for the hardy types.
By 9:36, the Jin Mao Tower (the one that looks like it’s topped with a stylized pagoda in the earlier photo) and the World Financial Center (which some say looks like a bottle opener) disappeared in the clouds right around where the sun should have been.
Still, as we observed while yawning and ordering more coffee, it looked about like Shanghai in a thunderstorm on a normal afternoon.
And then — darkness fell. The operative word here is “fell.” Suddenly, it was the dead of night. I had expected… I dunno… something like sunset? This was more like an animal suddenly swallowed the sun, as the ancient Chinese feared. Spooky. Eerie. Awesome.
At 9:38, here is what we were looking at (please excuse the spots, which have nothing to do with sun, but are raindrops on my lens):
And of course it was over in a matter of minutes, too. By 9:46, it was time to pack up the cameraand at 9:48, time to pay the check and head out to look for a taxi on a rainy Shanghai morning.
So no corona, no diamond ring, no use for the extensive (10 minutes) research I did on how to photograph an eclipse. But wow.