Total Solar Eclipse - March, 29 2006

Akkise, district of Ahirli, Konya - Central Turkey
9:40:23 and 12:14:56 (UT)

Observation site ( requires Google Earth)

Akkise was the the Atalaia's Group chosed site to observe one of the rarest and impressive shows from the Nature, thus associating the eclipse with alpine like mountain landscape. The site was exactly over the line of totality, at a rock planted hillside a little above of Akkise at an altitude of about 1350 meters (4430 ft), thus providing an stage with an horizon with several kilometers in depth . The Taurus Mountains Range acted as the horizon line, with the Sugla lake adding another interesting motiv.

After a brief exploration of the place, followed by the equipment's setup: several photographic and video cameras, white light and h-alpha telescopes and binoculars. Finally at hour and half before the eclipse everything was prepared and the long wait started until finally the Moon gave it's first bite on the Sun.

08:02:34

08:02:34

The eclipse had started. Some were writing down the changes felted on the environment, like the temperature, wind and animals sound, others making photographic exposures, having all followed the Moon's advance over the front of the Sun with its instrument of choice: telescopes, binoculars or simple filtered eclipse googles.

Starting at the beginning of the eclipse, a gradual lowering of the temperature was quite noticiable, wich at a certain point compelled us to all to put on warmer clothes, but only from 2/3 occultation it started to feel the environment light and color to become more and more desaturated, but in a way not quite similar to the loss light felt with cloud covered Sun.

There is always some anxiety over the choice of the place, caused by the doubt of some cloud hide the Sun during the totality. We also had our moment of "suspense" , when one of the clouds that were forming in the Taurus Mountains had dangerously approached the Sun 15 minutes before the totality, but happily, the cloud passed at a good distance. At 10 minutes to the totality, it was already guaranteed that no cloud would ruin the show, having certainly all been more reliefed. Meanwhile, inhabitants, pupils and professors of the school of Akkise and also a group of Hungarians had joined to us, to whom we showed the Moon's advance over the solar disc, and also made tricks with the shades.

It was now entering on the very last minutes to what it was then truily unknown to me. With the Southwestern horizon darkening each time more, Venus made its appearance, first on the binoculars, and a little later a naked eye sight.

08:22:47

08:22:47

Then the first alarm beeps - only 45 seconds to totality - I looked at the West horizon waiting for the 170km width shadow that would cover us at a vertiginous speed (about 2841 feet/second) from the snowed peaks to our small plateau, having looked at a last time for the clock, and had to turn on the watch light to be able to read the hours - just 15 seconds to go...

And the day became night.

One of the most impressive moments was the arrival of the shadow. It seemed to be almost instantaneous, perhaps explained for the fact of eyes needed some seconds to adapt to the sudden lost of ambient light, that is said to be equivalent to 2x full Moon light . It was at this moment that if had heard exclamations, but sincerely, I do not remember almost anything that it had done, said or heard at this time. What it was happening all around me was so different and beautiful that I think to have turn off almost all my senses except the vision.

I suddenly saw myself surronded by the strangest landscape that I ever seen. It did not take off the eyes from that black Sun radiating immense and phantasmagoric white petals with a fine hair texture - a truily hipnotizing sight. All the horizon suddenly presented an surreal dawn with yellow to orange tones and suddenly finishing on deep blue of the remaining celestial sphere, being this dawn cut by the mountain chains silhouettes that surronded us - the strangest thing were not its colors, but its relative little extension and the presence of a darker zone at the horizon's line level, similiar to the Earths shadow on a anti-solar horizon, but less extended and darker. The magnificent solar corona extended at least 1 to 2 solar diameters.

Only observed the planets Mercury and Venus, although had searched for other celestial bodies that some clouds regreatly put in hiding. The near villages public illumination, decepted by the false twilight turned the lights on.

My mid totality alarm woke up me from estupefaction, and take another fast series of photographs.

At the telescope and binoculars the the pink solar protuberences were perfectly evident, as well as the immense solar corona that spread to the limits of the field of view, but without a doubt the remarkable image was of that black disc radiating light - so supernatural as unforgettable.

The final part of the eclipse was observed through the telescope, seeing the diamond ring growing in an apex until it becamed almost unbearable to look at, having to take off the eyes "in extremis" from the eyepiece . Then quietely finished watching the horizon gradually became brighter and the colors slowly returning to the landscape.

Then a great euphoria took us all. It wasn't for less, we had attended something that was beyond everything that could be imagined. To watch a total solar eclipse is and will always be one of those unforgettable moments, especially if it is our first one. I will not be tired to insist if someone have the remote possibility to be under that shadow, do yourself a big favor and don't lose this sublime show for nothing of this world. It is of the few events that no one on this planet can remain indifferent.

Below are some images. Click for better resolution.

Eclipse

(clique na imagem - click on the image)

Solar Protuberances

Solar Protuberances
10:56:58
(clique na imagem - click on the image)

Inner Corona

Inner Corona
10:59:18
(clique na imagem - click on the image)

Baily's Beads

Baily's Beads
11:00:09
(clique na imagem - click on the image)

 

The end of totatility

The end of totatility
11:00:34
(clique na imagem - click on the image)

Diamond ring

Diamond ring
11:00:41
(clique na imagem - click on the image)

 

External Corona

External Corona
6 stacked photos
(clique na imagem - click on the image)

External Corona and Earthlight

External Corona and Earthlight
6 +1 stacked photos

Looking back, I think it would be enough to have brought only my adjustable chair and a pair of binoculars. The duration of the totality is too short to conveniently appreciate visually and to take photographs . These pictures although rewarding later, are only a pale description of is really to beunder the shade of the Moon.

Some minutes after the totality, the cloudiness started to increase (curiously many lenticular clouds), ruining the phases sequence exposures. Finally at 12:14 UT saw the Moon disappearing from the front of the Sun.

At then we made a picnic, as the below picture shows.

12:20:47

12:20:47

Local circunstances - Akkise, Turkey *

Position Duration Maximum Eclipse
Latitude Longitude   UT g
+37 22 -32 09 3 47,4 10 58 38,5 1,025

1st Contact 2nd Contact 3rdContact 4thContact
9 40 23,8 10 56 44,7 11 0 32,1 12 14 56,3

* source : Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul d'Éphémérides Observatoire de Paris - Bureau Des Longitudes

Istambul

Istambul
2 and half days after the eclipse

We stayed one week in Turkey, and in the days that had preceded and followed the eclipse's day, we visited some regions of this country that is extremely rich in places of historical interest, since the underground cities and century XI Christian chapels excavated on the soft rock from the several gigantic volcanos in Capadocia, the great Roman teather of Aspendos and the enormous city heleno-Roman of Perges at the mediterranic coast, and already in the immense Istambul passing for the monumental bizantine cathedral of Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque (photo above), the underground water cistern of Yerebatan, the sumptuosous Topkapi palace, a cruise on the Bosforos, culminating with great diner at the panoramic Galata's Tower .

Click on the image to see more pictures from Turkey.

Turquia

Equipment :

Important Note:

All the images excepting totality, an appropriate solar filters was used. These special filters only allow to pass 0,00001% of the intensity of the solar radiation, also blocking completely the harmful radiations, such as UV.

Some related links

Luís Carreira, April 2006