Valverde, district of Bragança - Portugal
It was a perfect day for an eclipse with the completely clear sky, little or no wind and with the reasonable mild temperature. The chosen place was situated on a plateau close to Valverde some quilometers below the city of Bragança, practically over the line of perfect centrality.
Some of the group had arrived to the site still at the night to have chance to polar align the mounts, arriving others later, but all being ready and on expectation well before the eclipse beginning.
The beginning of the eclipse was a surprise being a characteristic of the first contacts. Suddenly the Sun presented a small dent that has visibly increasing - the show has started.
After the initial excitement, the following moments of expectation were essentially filled with the observation of the lunar limb as the Sun unfortunely had almost no solar spots, however, despite some turbulence it was possible to see the crater silhouette and seas, like the Mare Orientale which depression and central peak were apparent thanks to a favorable libration, enough to be entertained until the next high moment, the second contact.
With h-alpha telescopes like the Coronado PST, this moment is perhaps the most dramatical for being possible to observe the solar proeminences appearing at the lunar dark limb, as they appeared out of nothing, and then finally the circle has closed. Until this moment the temperature and environment light decrease was very notourious, the best analogy that I can find was it looked like wearing a light Sun eyeglasses.
Although the Moon was occulting almost 90% of the solar disk, the Sun's intensity was still extremely strong, being only possible to observe directly without filters for a fraction of second, but still enough to notice that the Sun was really with something dark in the middle.
Soon at the third contact the ring was broken, and like before the second contact the solar proeminences again looked like suspended in the middle of nothing, even so that on this limb were less prominent. The time between the two contacts was about 4 minutes of intense excitement and astonisment, including the extraordinary vision of perfectly delineated fire ring, I practically had my eye glued to the PST eyepiece, alternating with photos taking. After the ring has broken, normality has slowly been restituted until the fourth and last contact (more like “de-contact”), and once more it was possible to observe in h-alpha the proeminences to reappear. On the next half hour the wind rised due to sudden temperature difference.
At the end remained an pleasant satisfaction to have witnessed an rare moment, with everything run the best possible way and also in best company.
The eclipses wich central line cross or will cross over the Portuguese continental territory are quite rare, the last eclipse was a total and annular (hybrid), with the contral line way crossing between Porto and Aveiro in April, 17 1912 but with only 1 or 2 seconds of duration in the phase of the totality. As a curiosity the last time that continental Portugal had the visit of a annular eclipse annular was on April , 1 of 1764, but the next one will be at January, 26 of 2028, passing however the central band at the sea at large of Faro.
The next total eclipse will be in August, 12 2026, although the occultation band will enter only 4 kms at a corner of Portugal north of Bragança. For being so rare perhaps the most waited astronomical event of the year.
Although I've given the visual priority to the event, below are some the images and animations that I had chance tocapture to later remember and to share with those who find fascinating these moments of rare beauty.
| Annular Eclipse
versions 1024, 1280 e 1400
|Eclipse 08:38 - 10:19 UTC
Animation ~10 minutes interval
|Eclipse at maximum 9:54 UTC|
|Mare Orientale ?|
|Solar Proeminences immediatly before the contact II ( 8:52 UTC)|
|Solar Proeminences immediatly after the contact III ( 8:57 UTC)|
|Solar Proeminences immediatly ( 9:34 UTC)|
|Some views at the site and equipment|
Local circunstances - Valverde, Bragança, Portugal *
|+41 42||+6 47||4' 5.7"||8 54 53.4||0.974|
|1st Contact||2nd Contact||3rdContact||4thContact|
|7 38 52.6||8 52 30.6||8 56 32.7||10 18 2.7|
Used Equipment :
- Takahashi SKY90 f/5.6 (500mm)and Nikon D70 , 1000 Oaks solar filter (exposures at 1/1500s 200 ISO)
- Coronado PST 40mm f/10 (400mm) h-alpha and Canon Powershot G1
- All on top of a Takahashi Sky Patrol II
Important note :
In all the images and observations the appropriate solar filters had been used to look to the Sun through a telescope. These filters only allow to pass 0,00001% of the light's intensity, also blocking completely the harmful radiations such as the UV.
Some related links
- Documento PDF de Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul d'Éphémérides Observatoire de Paris - Bureau Des Longitudes
- Eclipse page by grupo Atalaia
- Report by Barros & Santiago
- Report UAA by Grom Matthies UAA
- Report by Luís Evangelista
- Report by Jorge Almeida
- Total Solar Eclipse - March, 29 2006
- Transit of Venus - June, 8 2004
- Total Lunar Eclipse - October, 28 2004
- Total Lunar Eclipse - November, 8 2003
- Transit of Mercury - May, 7 2003
Luís Carreira, October 2005