«Overwhelming...» - Alberto Fernando

«The Greatest Show on the Earth...» - Hugo Silva

Although these words are extracts of the feelings that crush us when we witness a show like this, the truth is that there are no words to describe the emotions rushing through us that Wednesday near Akkise(Google Earth), a small village lost in an immense valley of Turkey away from all Tourists Destinations.

It was on the 29th of March 2006, around 14:00 Local time (12:00 UT),  that the moon’s shadow came rushing down Taurus Mountains hitting us at a speed of 866 meters per second.

From that moment on a surreal atmosphere flooded us and everything was beyond anything any of us was prepared to face.

From the 15 people that were part of that Expeditionary Corp none could predict the meaning of those brief 3 minutes and 44 seconds. From that moment on, our existence in this world was revealed in such a rude and implacable way none could ever imagine.

- The fact that we are all tinny, microscopic particles of dust in something that is far beyond our ability of understanding.

Turkey Expeditionary Corp :

José Ribeiro, João Ribeiro, Alcino Pacheco, Hugo Silva, Carmen Santiago, Rui Tripa, Filipe Alves, João Seixas, Maria Macedo, Luis Carreira, Alberto Fernando, Fátima Seixas, Paulo Guedes, Mário Santiago and Alfonso Portela.

We all felt insignificant in face of that landscape, but at the same time we felt we were being part of something completely amazing, something that nature wanted to share with us, truly “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

Click the image to view full resolution version (2560X1920).


This photo composition of the group present on that hillside at Akkise was taken some minutes after totality.

Besides some young Hungarians and Population of the small village, we gently lent our Bus so that the young students from the local school could watch the event with us and usufruct the explanations and telescopes present at the site.

We could not know then that they would give us much more than what we gave them: The pleasure of seeing the happiness of the youngsters was far greater than the pleasure of letting them have a view through a telescope maybe for the first time in their lives.

The image at left is particularly curious because it was taken few minutes after the third contact, right after totality was over.

It would be expectable that the solar eclipse would be followed with intensity right till the moment of 4th contact (when the moon completely exits the sun).

But after the ecstasy of totality, we were completely beaten by the intensity of the experience and it wouldn’t be a “simple” moment of partiality that would keep us from savouring that feeling.

Clik image for full resolution (1024X768).

Click image for full resolution (1694X1100)

Through digital processing it is possible to combine different exposure photos so that the outcome presents all the dynamic range inaccessible to the human eye.

In this photo you can view the earthshine.

Click image for full resolution (2027X1678)

In the middle of all that mystic atmosphere there was still someone with a clear enough head to do some tasks of scientific nature: Temperature Variation and Light Curve measurements during the eclipse.

A SQM (Sky Quality Meter) was used as a measuring instrument. It had to be modified in order to be able to measure correctly light in a very different way it was conceived: to measure the sky quality at night.

In this graphic it’s clearly visible a peak in the light curve (pink line), matching exactly the moment of totality.

Click to view table

Click this link to watch a short movie showing the atmosphere lived during the eclipse  (4:07 min / 18,76Mb)

On our way back from the eclipse completely extenuated from the emotions of totality nature still had one last show for us:

- Lenticular Clouds

After such an intense experience one certainty remains:

- Siberia 2008 !!!

Web Design and Texts: Mário Santiago / Paulo Guedes;  Eclipse Photos: Paulo Guedes / Filipe Alves; People and Landscape Photos: Mário Santiago / Hugo Silva / Paulo Guedes; The Movie: Rui Tripa; Measurements and Analyses: Carmen Santiago / Grom Mathies / UAA

© Atalaia 2006

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Versão Portuguesa English version Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5 Photo 6 Photo 7 Photo 8 Photo 9 Photo 10 Click for full resolution Equipment after Contact III Resolution 1694x1100 Resolution 2027x1678 Eclipse 2006 - The Movie