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Science: Solar Eclipse 科学:日全食

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Science: Solar Eclipse 科学:日全食
Shanghai during a total solar eclipse
Shanghai is plunged into darkness
Across Asia many people have just witnessed the natural wonder that is a total solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth align in such a way that our view of the Sun is totally obscured by the Moon.

This week's total eclipse could be seen in eastern India before slowly moving across Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Japan, and the Pacific Ocean.

Yesterday, when it reached eastern China, people flocked into the streets to witness the astronomical wonder.

As daylight disappeared and the sky quickly darkened, those watching were left far from disappointed. Cities such as Shanghai were plunged into darkness during what is thought to be the longest total eclipse of the 21st century. It lasted 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

Total solar eclipses of such a long duration are very rare events, they happen but once in a lifetime. Shao Zhenyi, an astronomer at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China explained:

"We'll have to wait a few hundred years for another opportunity to observe a solar eclipse that lasts this long, so it's a very special opportunity."

But while millions celebrate this phenomenon, it should be remembered that total eclipses have not always been such treasured events.

Many cultures traditionally believed that a total eclipse was a bad omen or a supernatural event. Some believed that evil gods were eating the Sun. Others believed that the eclipse signified oncoming disasters.

Nowadays it appears that these fears and superstitions are long forgotten. As daylight once again flooded Asian cities such as Shanghai, whoops and cheers could be heard among the gathered crowds.

Reflecting on what had just happened, one Shanghai resident described the eclipse as "eerie", whilst another said "It's like magic, the day turns into night in such a short period of time. I have no idea where I am right now. It feels like a different world."



GLOSSARY 词汇表 (收听发音, 请单击英语单词)

natural wonder
自然奇观

obscured
遮盖, 遮掩

astronomical
天文的

plunged into darkness
陷入黑暗

but once in a lifetime
一生一次,形容千载难逢的机会

observatory
天文台

bad omen
凶兆

evil
邪恶的

fears and superstitions
恐惧和迷信

whoops and cheers
起哄和欢呼声

total solar eclipse
日全食

flocked
涌入

far from disappointed
没有觉得失望

rare
罕见的

astronomer
天文学家

phenomenon
现象,奇迹

supernatural
超自然的

oncoming
即将来临的

(daylight) flooded
日光照亮了

eerie
怪诞的,奇异的


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