Total solar eclipses are rare in a particular area, and not everyone on the planet will get to see one in their lifetime.

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Eclipse 99:
On Wednesday, August 11th 1999, a total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor which traversed the Eastern Hemisphere.

About Eclipses
More about solar and lunar eclipses.

Eclipse Chasing
Some people make a habit of travelling around the world to see the moon's shadow.

Eclipse Path
Where the total solar eclipse travelled on August 11th, 1999.

Past Eclipses
A look back at the effect of total solar eclipses on people and places in the past.

Future Eclipses
After reading through the eclipse pages @ Travel Notes, you may want to know where to plan your next eclipse experience.

Eclipse Library
Further reading on the subject of total solar eclipses.

Travelling to a Solar Eclipse

Total solar eclipses are rare in a particular area, and not everyone on the planet will get to see one in their lifetime.

Although the entire eclipse can last for a couple of hours, the spectacular total phase only lasts for a few minutes.

The maximum duration of totality is just over seven and a half minutes. It is also a rare occurrence. Indeed, for any one location, total eclipses of the sun occur, on average, once every 350 years or so.

In London for example, the last the last total solar eclipse was in 1715 and the the next one is not due until 2135; although northern England experienced one in 1927 and the southwest was in darkness on August 11th, 1999.

For the Earth as a whole, these eclipses occur roughly seven or eight times every ten years. If you want to see one, you'll probably have to do some travelling.

Travelling to Eclipses:
Kryss Katsiavriades has made numerous trips to see total eclipses of the sun.

  • Tuban (1983):
    A small fishing village on the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Java. ["The trip had consisted of three minibuses, two buses, a colt, a horse and cart, a bemo, a lorry, a becak and a motorbike. I had made it to the centre line..."]
  • General Santos (1988):
    General Santos City, on the Phillipine island of Mindanao. ["In the West, I could see it getting darker as the Moon's shadow approached at nearly a kilometre per second. The horizon was turning red as the sky turned a deep blue..."]
  • Santiago (1991):
    A small ridge in the deserts of the Baja Californian peninsula of Mexico. ["It reminded us of the story of the Passover. As we watched, the clouds over the distant
    hills turned grey, then black. The hills themselves then turned dark. Moments later, the valley was plunged into darkness..."]
  • Zapahuira (1994):
    From the 3000m plus highlands in northern Chile. ["All was still, cool and quiet. There was not a sound from the people below. However much they had read or had been told about the eclipse, nothing had prepared them for the strange reality. Even the insects had stopped chirping..."]
  • Khanua (1995):
    A tiny village in northern India. ["The sun rose over a timeless rural scene of India. The young men of the village began arriving. They sat on the ridge and watched. They had not come to see the eclipse but to
    watch us..."]
  • El Pico (1998):
    From the windy Paraguana peninsula in Venezuela. ["The soldier told us we could not pass without a permit. We had travelled thousands of kilometres. Our eclipse site, a quiet deserted beach, was a few hundred meters further on. Behind us was a beach overflowing with noise, crowds, cars and vendors..."]
  • Wheal Coates (1999):
    From the stormy cliffs and coves near St Agnes (Cornwall), in England. ["The 1999 eclipse was to be the only one visible in my own country during my life time. Eastern Turkey or Iran were expected to have the best weather but I had dreamt about seeing the eclipse in Cornwall since I was 12 years old..."]
  • Ruya River (2001):
    From the banks of the Ruya River in Zimbabwe. ["Suddenly the light from the dimmed Sun became a point as the Moon covered the final sliver. The point lingered for an instant before flickering out like a candle. Darkness descended like a shroud as the Sun's Corona flashed into view dotted with pink flame-like Prominances. Totality had begun. Jupiter could be seen close to the Sun..."]

Touring To Totality:
Some people prefer to have it all arranged for them, or watch totality from a ship. While looking for tours himself, Bill Ronald collected a fair number of links to share with others to save them time.

Personal Accounts:
A few people at the Exploratorium share their experiences on Real Audio.

Oranjestad, Aruba:
A Brief Report on the total solar eclipse of February 26, 1998 -- by Fred Espenak.

Travel Notes' 1999 Eclipse Report:
Total solar eclipse from Lake Balaton on August 11th, 1999.

Video archives of the Exploratorium live Webcast from San Fransisco on August 11th, 3:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The program includes reports from points across Europe and a direct satellite link from their expedition in Amasya, Turkey -- 2hrs long at 28k.

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