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Come Explore with The Planetary Society!

July 8-24, 2009

We invite you to explore Tibet in 2009 and see the Total Solar Eclipse July 22, 2009, south of Shanghai.

Centerline of totality for this Eclipse arcs from India across Bhutan and China. We will to see the eclipse south of Shanghai, near Hangzhou, reputedly Marco Polo’s favorite city in China. While we cannot guarantee eclipse viewing, the area is on the path of totality with a good probability of clear skies! It will be an excellent location for viewing the eclipse.

Our adventure will begin with a visit to Chengdu, vibrant capital city of Sichuan. We will then fly west to explore the cultural heart of Tibet. The Tibetan Plateau has long been a place of fascination for Western naturalists and explorers.

Our first destination in Tibet will be Tsedang near some of the oldest villages and sacred sites in Tibet. They pre-date Buddhism in this area by more than a thousand years. From Tsedang, we will follow the Yarlung Tsangpo and Kyichu rivers upstream to Lhasa, historic center of the Tibetan world.

Lhasa is renowned for its sacred sites, each with distinctive esoteric rituals, colorful iconography, and profound spiritual significance to the Tibetan people. These include Jorkang Temple, the Potala and Norbulinka Palace, the winter and summer residences of the Dalai Lama, and Ganden Monastery, poised dramatically on a ridge that overlooks the upper reaches of the Lhasa Valley.

We will also explore Namco Lake which lies in a basin at 15,500 feet elevation. Here the air is extraordinarily clear, offering luminous vistas of glaciated peaks that encircle the basin. Semi-nomadic families live here during summer in felt tents, tending their herds of yaks and ponies.

We will then fly to Hangzhou, an historic city south of Shanghai, considered to have some of the best feng shui of any city in China. It is situated on West Lake, one of China’s most revered bodies of water. We will drive a short distance to reach our site for the Total Solar Eclipse. It will be a fascinating experience!

Although the Tibetan Plateau is quite high, we will spend most of our time at moderate elevations. Lhasa, our highest overnight destination, is 11,700 feet above sea level. After a few days, most visitors acclimatize and do fine at these elevations. Our highest point overall is the pass that leads to Namco Lake at 16,900 feet. Since we will cross the pass after having spent a week in Tibet, we do not anticipate any major altitude problems, even though this excursion probably will set a few personal altitude records for our travelers!

We hope that you will join us to explore Tibet and the 2009 Total Solar Eclipse. Space is limited, so please let us know right away.

Brochure (Requires an Adobe pdf reader to view)




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