In partnership with Madrid Regional Government's ASTROCAM network and Extremadura Regional Government's Department of Youth and Sports, the Ciclope Group led by Francisco Manuel Sanchez Moreno of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid's School of Computing is to Internet broadcast the 21st century's longest total solar eclipse from the Chinese city of Chongqing on 22 July 2009. The eclipse's is central duration will be over six minutes.
The Ciclope Group's scholarship holder, Urko Serrano, is to join the Shelios expedition and travel to the site in the company of over 20 professionals from all over Spain. The expedition has all the equipment necessary to capture and Internet broadcast the images in real time. At this end, Diego Lopez will coordinate the webcasting of the images over the network of networks at the UPM's School of Computing.
The expedition's team is due to arrive in China on 14 July. Team members will stay in the country until 26 July, when they will embark on the journey back to Spain. During their stay, Marcos Casilda, an audiovisual communicator dispatched by Extremadura's Regional Government and Urko Serrano will enter daily reports and post information about the expedition on the website with the aim of publicising this spectacle worldwide.
From the scientific viewpoint, the broadcast will give the Ciclope Group chance to run several experiments as part of their research into multimedia broadcasting with P2P technology. The development of this technology could make provision for an unlimited audience of viewers in the future, where each connected client would operate as a repeater or proxy. This, today, is a far-off prospect.
Ciclope is an ICT research and collaborative learning group. Last year they received second prize in the Eighth New Applications for the Internet contest organised by the Chair of New Generation Internet for the 'Open source software for educational robotised astronomical observatories remotely operated over the Internet.'
The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century is to take place on 22 July 2009. Until 13 June 2132, there will no other eclipse to rival its duration. It will last 6 minutes and 39 seconds, and it will reach its maximum phase at 02:35:21 UTC, some 100 km south of the Bonin Islands to the southeast of Japan.
The eclipse, with a magnitude of 1.0799, will be visible from northern India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Union of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean, including the Ryukyu Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati. The total eclipse will be seen by citizens of Surat, Varanasi, Patna, Thimphu, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Shanghai. A partial eclipse will be observable in the much wider path of the moon's penumbra, covering most of southeast Asia and northeast Oceania. Via the Internet, however, it will be visible all over the world.
The 2009 Shelios Expedition to China, organised by a group of experts in astronomy, has been sponsored by Extremadura Regional Government's Department of Youth and Sports. The expedition sets out to study, observe and record everything related to the solar eclipse of 22 July.
The expedition's organiser, Miquel Serra-Ricart, an astronomer working for the Canary Islands Astrophysical Institute and administrator of the Teide Observatory, explained at a press conference held in Extremadura that this is the only solar eclipse this year and will not be visible from any part of Spain.
He added that the total solar eclipse will be observed from the environs of the city of Chongqing (China). Inland China is one of the best places within the eclipse's path for viewing the event, as the probability of clear skies is high, the likelihood of typhoons is low and, finally, the central duration of the total eclipse phase is near maximum.