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The Great European Eclipse of 1999


Welcome to the special page of the Sky over Berlin to the big astronomical event before the end of the millennium, the Great European Eclipse at the 11th of August, 1999. In Berlin this event wasn't that spectacular: here the occultations started at 11:21h MEST, had its maximum of ca. 87 percent at 12:40h MEST, and ended at 13:59h MEST.

12-13:10 MEST
Cities of Europe within the shadow besides of the central line locations like Stuttgart (2nd contact resp. begin of totality: 12:33h MEST, duration of the totality 2 minutes and 17 seconds), Bucharest (13:07h MEST, 2m22s), or Shabla (at the Black Sea, 13:10h MEST, 2m21s), were also Plymouth (11:14h GMST, 1m39s), Le Havre (12:20 MEST, 1m31s), Rouen (12:21 MEST, 1m36s), Reims, Verdun, Luxemburg (12:28h MEST, 1m20s) Metz, Saarbrücken (2nd contact: 12:29h MEST, duration of the totality 2 minutes and 9 seconds), Zweibrücken (12:30h MEST, 2m02s), Strasbourg (12:31h MEST, 1m24s), Kaiserslautern (12:31h MEST, 55 seconds) Offenburg (12:32h MEST, 38 seconds), Karlsruhe (12:32h MEST, 2m08s), Heilbronn (12:33h MEST, 1m29s), Aalen (12:34h MEST, 2m03s), Ulm (12:34h MEST, 2m05s), Augsburg (12:36h MEST, 2m17s), Munich (12:37h MEST, 2m08s), Freising (12:37h MEST, 2m17s), Salzburg (2nd contact: 12:40h MEST, duration of the totality 2 minutes and 2 seconds), Hallein (12:40h MEST, 1m45s), Mondsee (12:40h MEST, 2m17s), Vöcklabruck (12:41h MEST, 2:17m), Gmunden (12:41h MEST, 2m19s), Lienz (12:42h MEST, 27 seconds), Wels (12:42h MEST, 1m47s), Steyr (12:42h MEST, 1m51s), Eisenerz (12:43h MEST, 2m18s) Kapfenberg (12:44h MEST, 2m18s), Leoben (12:44h MEST, 2m08s), Graz (12:45h MEST, 69 seconds), Wiener Neustadt (12:46h MEST, 66 seconds), Veszprem, Szeged, Arad, and Silistra.

The core shadow was less than 150 kilometer in diameter. The animation above or to the right side are snapshots made with StarryNight 2.1, showing the European part of the eclipse 1999 as seen from Moon, where the core shadow is only the small green marked inner region. The first image is from 10:00 UT/GMT, that is 12:00 MEST. At this time the region was approaching the most South West part of the English island. The other images are made in ten minutes steps. At 13:10 MEST the shadow was leaving the European shelf into the Black Sea.

Not shown at the Earth animation is the atmosphere, which played a main role about the visibility of the event. At that day a partly dense cloud band was moving from South England to the Northern Alpes with another Low moving into Hungaria and Romania. There were only small gaps between the clouds, so that north of Karlsruhe, Ulm and Augsburg, in and around Salzburg, within the eastern Lower Austria and in parts of Hungaria the exciting look to the occulted Sun was possible...

Augustsonne, 11:40 MET, darkened Augustsonne, 11:40 MET

The introducing image sequence (218kB GIF animation) is a collection of pictures, taken east of Salzburg near Eldenau (in Austria). All images were taken with a Celestron C5+ (1250mm/f10) and a Pentax MZ-M (on Kodak Gold 100). The pictures before and after totality were made with an additional selfmade solar filter.

Onto the higher clouds minutes before and after the event rainbow colors were visible. Scared swallows were flying around and butterflies without orientation were bumping against a house wall. But there were no bigger winds coming up, predicted with the advancement of the core shadow, and it was not getting much colder. Reason for this might be the valley-like surrounding of the location.

Augustsonne, 11:41 MET Augustsonne, 11:41 MET

The total eclipse began at around 11:40h MET. Besides of the Sun and the Moon the most distinct object at the sky was Venus. It was not possible to identify Mercury, although other stars were visible. (Turning the telescope around was something I wanted to avoid.) The photos of the totality are starting with an exposure time 1/500th second and ending with about 1/2 second.

With the naked eye there were the wider corona *and* the nicely rose glowing protuberances noticable, where on the images only one or the other can be made visible.

Augustsonne, 11:42 MET Augustsonne, 11:42 MET

One astonishing detail of the eclipse was the free floating protuberance above the upper right sector, showing like a marker where the Sun would reappear from behind the Moon. Within the time of the totality it seemed to move with a slow grave motion.

The next visible solar eclipse in Berlin is the local partial solar eclipse at the 3rd of October 2005 (ca. 40% occultation). The next total solar eclipse in central Europe will take place at September 3rd, 2081, maybe visible around Salzburg, again. But the next total solar eclipse next to Europe will be the eclipse von 2006, where the central line will go through Small Asia at March 29. - The next total eclipse visible in Berlin will take place at October 7th, 2135.

August Sun, Vorder-Schroffenau, Austria, August 11 1999, 11:41h MET, APS photo: DD

Millions of people were able to see the event. The following pages have more images and informations about the GEE'99, future or past eclipses and similar events:


created 1998-09-10 - modified 1999-07-30 - modified 1999-09-18 - modified 1999-10-01 - modified 1999-12-12 - modified 2002-10-01 - linkupdate 2003-09-08 - modified 2004-08-12

-- jd --