Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Breakaway - Quick! Catch It While You're Still On Earth!

Horrors! I almost missed this wondrous bit of news. Did you know there’ll be a total solar eclipse on Wed, 22 July? I didn’t!
Called the Eclipse of the Century, hotels in Shanghai are cashing in on the opportunity with solar eclipse packages. That’s because nearby lies Yangshan Island which is apparently the best spot in the world to see the sun turn dark…but Shangai is near enough! If you’re in for some astro-excitement, there’s still time to make plans to skip north.

Eclipse in Comfort. Watch the day turn to night over Champagne breakfast at the JW Marriot Shanghai at Tomorrow Square. The 360˚ Solar Eclipse Package (from RMB 2660 per room) includes one night’s accommodation in a deluxe room, Champagne breakfast in the Marriott Café (yes!!), and after the magic is over, a spa treatment of a traditional Chinese medical massage at their Mandara spa. The best place to view the event is over breakfast at the café of course, with floor to ceiling windows and a 360˚ view. And after that? Why, shopping of course! For reservations, call (86 21) 5359 4969.

For diehard astronomy buffs, head to Pudong Shangri-La which is offering a package from RMB3,600 nett per person (available for 21-23 July only). It includes one or two-nights at Pudong Shangri-La, admission to the InterSoles Conference on 21 July 2009 (that’s an astronomy conference about the eclipse) and a guided excursion with Eclipse-City Ltd to Yangshan Island on 22 July 2009 to observe the total solar eclipse. (Eclipse-City Ltd is the only organiser who has the right to access Yangshan Island, the best location to view the eclipse, and is the official partner of the Shanghai Observatory.) For more details, email

Definite something to pen into your diary, this will be the longest total solar eclipse in the 21st century. It begins with a partial eclipse starting at 08:23am and finishing at 11:01am, and the full eclipse will last about five minutes from 09:36am to 09:41am. You’ll not see another solar eclipse as long as this until June 13, 2132. So catch it while you’re still on earth!

- Ee Waun


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