Total Solar Eclipse: 2008 August 1

To the Gobi Desert with

Ancient World Tours

Site Location (WGS 84)
Longitude: 94 51' 02" East
Latitude: 43 28' 51" North
Altitude: 1000 metres

- Weizixia, China

Predicted Contact times (mean limb) UTC
1st Contact: 10:09:07
2nd Contact: 11:07:47
Mid-eclipse: 11:08:46
3rd Contact: 11:09:46
4th Contact: 12:04:15
Totality: 1 minute 59 seconds


All images were taken with a Borg 101ED, 0.85x reducer/field-flattener and Canon 40D DSLR. The automatic camera control system is described here.

Note the use of the water-filled counterweight on the Vixen Super-Polaris equatorial mount. It is available at a very modest cost from Safield.

The eclipse site at Weizixia was some distance from our hotel in the town of Hami, and although the eclipse was not until late afternoon, we set off before 10.00am! We were barely out of the town and just on the southern limit when we hit a traffic jam at the first police checkpoint. After that, the journey took us through the Tien-Shan mountains with some spectacular scenery. Up on the Barkol grasslands we encountered another police checkpoint, but after a cursory look at the telescopes and equipment, we were sent on our way. We arrived at the eclipse site in very good time: a couple of hours before 1st contact.

The site was semi-desert, dry and open, at a moderate-altitude with a backdrop of snow-covered mountains - a superb location! The mountains were responsible for somewhat more cloud than Jay Andersen had predicted: with just a minute or two until 2nd contact the Sun was obscured. Luckily the cloud cleared just in time and didn't return until some time after 3rd contact. No shadow bands were observed either prior to or just after totality.

The Thermochrons were deployed as usual and recorded the drop in temperature as the eclipse progressed. Graph to follow.

Nick Quinn & Linda Croft

Baily's Beads at 2nd Contact

2nd Contact

Chromosphere at 2nd Contact


Chromosphere and Inner Corona


Mid-eclipse 1/60th Second

Mid-eclipse 1/15th Second


Mid-eclipse 4 Seconds

Diamond Ring

Diamond Ring at 3rd Contact

Back to Eclipse page


Copyright Nick Quinn, 2008