July 22, 2009 ALP Total Solar Eclipse Expedition To Wuhan, China
by James Kevin Ty & Francisco Lao, Jr.
Images by James Kevin Ty  , Jett Aguilar,  Francisco Lao, Jr., Andrew Ian Chan , Chang Guo Qiang





After having a heavy hearty breakfast, the group ride on their rented aircon bus and left the hotel to Jiangtan Park to have their 1st eclipse dry run and calibration of equipment. Since they were able to scout the park's area yesterday and had chose one that is near the park's entrance in which it had a railing to the east- this was to have an unobstructed view of the east to capture the horizon glow during totality, as well as provide an area where no onlookers would be bumping or hindering their equipment.  The arc shaped area in front of team's observing area would prevent onlookers from accidentally bumping as well as obstructing their equipment .  With that privilege,  the group will only have to control the crowds at their back.

Fisheye view of the ALP Wuhan TSE Group Setup

ALPer Francisco Lao, Jr. beside his 500mm f/6.3 Maksutov Lens and assortment of multiple still and video cameras for wide angle and earth shadow imaging.

ALPers rehearsing and calibrating their eclipse equipment

ALPer Andrew Ian Chan takes a break and posed beside his Skywatcher 80mm f/6 refractor imaging setup.

ALP Expedition Team Leader / President James Kevin Ty posed beside his Canon still and video imaging  system.

Zareer Contractor posed beside his twin DSLR cameras.

ALP VP Jett Aguilar calibrating his Canon DSLRs and Borg 77ED refractor.

Another nice fisheye shot of the group's setup at Jiangtan Park.

ALP Wuhan TSE Team Members posed for posterity together with two members of a local astronomical society.

Temperature that morning was really hot! Their thermometer registered a hot temperature of 38 deg C mid morning but since most of the research team have trained under hot and humid environment that team leader James gave them, they must have felt less irritated by the hot weather that morning.  While setting up at the park, many people and onlookers were curious and start to go near the team and asked why they were setting up that day while the eclipse day was on July 22.  Since James and Andrew can speak Mandarin, they were able to explain to the people that they were just rehearsing and calibrating their equipment in  preparation for the 22nd eclipse. With lots of cameras, videos and equipment spreading out near the chosen area, it comes natural that the group become a media magnet as well.  A few news reporter particularly Mr. Chou Quo Qiang of Wuhan Evening Post  approached the group and interviewed James and he gives a briefing on the group's objectives as well as eclipse plans.  They were also firing away with lots of setup images that James was sure that one or two images of the group might be featured in tomorrow's paper.

After a successful dry run that morning, they packed their equipment and return to the hotel to unload their equipment and get ready for a big lunch.  Also that day, they were expecting ALPer Johnny Quinto and his family to join the team from Shanghai.  They were expected to arrive in Wuhan at around 11:00am but their flight was delayed  so they were only able to arrive at the hotel at around 2:00pm.  Nevertheless the team went out to have lunch at a great Chinese restaurant near the hotel.  The name of the restaurant is Mr. Xie.  The food there is great and delicious as well as moderately priced.  They were also able to try out the famous Wuchang Fish that was the favorite dish of the late Mao Zhe Dong whenever he comes to Wuhan.  The fish was very tasty and delicious but like our very own Bangus (milkfish), it is very bony :0

When they get back to the hotel , Johnny and family arrived 15 minutes later and got to meet James at the lobby and since the group has a scheduled tour visit at the Wuhan Sea World, Johnny and family checked in their luggage at their rooms and join the group for the tour.  Sea World is located near the famous East Lake area and they were able to see a lot of beautiful fishes such as sharks, seals, turtles, arowanas, arapaimas, sturgeons, rays and many tropical and salt water fishes.  One of the nice area of this center is the glass tunnel wherein one can see the fishes, sharks, turtles and rays swimming on top of you :)


Wide angle shot of Wuhan Sea World facility

A spotted shark is one of the numerous types of sharks that can be seen in this facility.

The underwater glass tunnel aquarium is one of the highlights of this facility.

Two large catfish staring at us: "Hey look at the beautiful creatures that are looking at us!"


One of the several large Sea Turtles can be viewed there.

Jett: "Pre, this is the size of my ideal ED refractor ! :) LOL"

Afterwards, they went to a nearby car battery shop where Jett bought a small car battery for his laptop and telescope use at the observing site.  Then they went back to the hotel afterwards and get some rest before going out to have dinner. Since it was a hot day, Johnny and family as well as Zed decided to stay at the hotel and order from the hotel.  So James, Jun, Jett and Andrew went out and try other restaurants near the hotel vicinity.  That evening they tried out a local congee house wherein the big bowl serving was enormous!  Almost as big as a salad bowl!  They ordered a seafood congee and it was full of crabs and shrimps as well as fish.  Afterwards, they headed back to the hotel and get some rest.  As they return to the hotel, they were quite surprised that most of the blog sites can't be access  (maybe China a bit strict on blogging?) so the initial plan to do a daily update of their activities were put on hold :( Most of the .org sites are also blocked so James  wasn't able to access and update ALP webpage as well.  So final decision was to do the daily updates of activities when they are back in Manila.




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