Eclipse Chasing (caught another!)

Total Solar Eclipse Mangavat Mar 29, 2006

My family and I just returned from a trip with the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies (IAS) to Antalya Turkey to view the March 29, 2006 total eclipse of the sun. We're not the kind of dedicated eclipse chasers who travel to the center of the south pacific, arctic and antarctic regions or remote areas of siberia or sahara desert in order to see totality. But for us this rare sky event is a perfect excuse to visit a corner of the world we might not otherwise see, but which isn't too expensive or difficult to reach. We were rewarded with warm weather, friendly people, spectacular mountainous mediterranean scenery and well-preserved ancient cities. We also had clear skies over Manavgat for the total solar eclipse.

The above photo was a 1/8 second exposure at F2 taken with my broken Casio QV-4000. The missing lens element gives a distorted, but very wide view which shows the sky, eclipsed sun and the foreground.

We set up a play tent so that my daughter and her new friends could play together during the partial phases. Capturing a total solar eclipse on film is even more difficult than capturing a sunset, a rainbow or a dark starry sky. And most of us don't want to spend the short time of this rare event looking through a viewfinder or at an LCD screen. That's my excuse for why none of the totality photos I attempted look anything like what we saw. My wife took a couple of photos with her tiny Canon Powershot SD300 which look like text book photos of totality and the diamond ring.

It was an amazing experience. If you don't see us in Shanghai or southern Japan for the 2009 eclipse, look for us in southern Illinois or Eastern Oregon1 for the next contintental U.S. eclipse in 2017!

1 Currently eastern Oregon is semi-desert and southern Illinois/Missouri is typical midwestern "anything goes" weather, but with global warming kicking in, maybe it will be the reverse by 2017.

Update: University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) put together a very clear Java animation of the eclipse as seen from Meteosat-8.

Update: Albert White, another Sun Ireland guy who is active with IFAS, was also at the Antalya solar eclipse expedition. He just posted his eclipse photos and a bit of audio. If a 1999 honeymoon in rainy Gerlingen Germany counts, this is my third total eclipse, Next time I'll leave it to Albert, my wife and my daughter to take the photos and I'll just look!
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