© 1998 Fred Espenak

Eclipses, Occultations

and Transits

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General Essays

A brief introduction to total eclipses of the sun. Occurrence of eclipses (how often they occur and where they can be seen). Total eclipses observed.

There is a listing of the next ten total eclipses of the Sun with a map of the path of totality (From Fred Espenak).

Eclipses of the Moon; their cause, properties and history. Lunar eclipses seen.

A brief introduction to occultations and transits. Photos of the Transits of Mercury (2003) and Venus (2004).

Total Eclipses of the Sun Observed

Torshavn, Faroe Islands, Denmark:

Two minutes later, totality ended - and so did the cloud cover. The distinct golden light of a very large partial eclipse appeared like a diamond ring as a patch of clear sky uncovered the Sun at the same time as the Moon was doing the same.

Pokwero Village near Pakwach, Uganda:

As the air cooled with the advancing eclipse, the large cloud shrivelled away and out came the Sun, bathing the landscape with the distinctive golden hues of a pre-totality eclipsed Sun. It was now obvious that we were going to have an unobstructed view of totality.

Machans Beach, Cairns, Queensland, Australia:

The Moon's shadow enveloped the clouds over the sea and turned the sky a deep blue. The presence of a rogue cloud below the eclipsed Sun diverted the light of the corona upwards and made it into a cone.

Jinshan Beach, Shanghai, China:

"We had a group of twenty, we had the sea, we had clear horizons. The only thing missing was the Sun..."

Staribirsk Beach, Berdsk, Russia:

"The view of the eclipsed Sun with the two planets over the water was outstanding and a complete justification for the choice of viewing location..."

Temple of Apollo, Side, Turkey:

"The darkening was now more rapid, more dramatic. The sky was so blue it was almost purple. Behind the temple there was a reddening of the sky as the Moon's shadow approached at over 800 metres per second..."

Kasane - Nata Road, Botswana:

"So much happening - so little time. A mere 1 minute and 13 seconds to see, marvel at, and absorb the wonders of the corona, the prominances, the three planets, the dark sky, the red sunset glow all around. And all the time changing as the Moon's shadow rushes past at half a kilometer per second..."

Ruya River, Maname, 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..."

Wheal Coates, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom:

"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..."

El Pico, Paraguana Peninsula, 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...."

Khanua, Rajasthan, 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...."

Zapahuira, 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...."

Santiago, Baja California, 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...."

General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines:

"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...."

Tuban, Java, Indonesia:

"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.....".

Transits Observed

Account of the event and photographs by my friend, Mike Southby, of the transit of Venus.

Account of the event and photographs by my oldest friend, Bob Snell, of the transit of Mercury.

Archives, Accounts and Web Ring

This is a number of accounts of the 2009 eclipse sent to this web site.

This is a number of accounts of the 2006 eclipse sent to this web site.

This is a number of accounts of the 2002 eclipse sent to this web site.

This is a number of accounts of the 2001 eclipse sent to this web site.

This is a number of accounts of the 1999 eclipse sent to this web site.

On 11 August 1999 a total solar eclipse occurred in Europe (including south west England).

Accounts of the 1998 eclipse sent to this web site.

Photographs of the 1995 eclipse sent to this web site.

Accounts of the 1983 eclipse sent to this web site are reproduced here.

External Eclipse Links

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Fred Espenak (NASA)
Past and future eclipses - reports, maps and information from NASA's Fred Espenak. This is the best place to obtain eclipse information and maps.

A fascinating eclipse and astronomy site with excellent historical accounts of eclipses and contributions from eclipse chasers.

Books From and