SE Newsletter December 1998

11 August 1999: Turkey survey for eclipse

From: Vojtech RUSIN To: [email protected]

Dear Collegaues, Here you will kindly find my report to Turkey. Please forward the message to other persons interesting in the last solar eclipse in the millenium. Best regards, Voyto Rusin


By invitation of Dr. A. Ozguc of the Kandilli Observatory, Istanbul, and Mr. M. Kartopu, vice-director of the travel agency Magister Tours Inc. I had an opportunity to visit several places along the eclipse path in Turkey. Other members of the inspection team were: Dr. Bill Livingston from National Solar Observatory, Tucson, Dr. Atila Ozguc and 5 of his colleagues from Kandilli Observatory, and Mr. Kartopu with his daughter. The inspection lasted from August 6 to August 13, 1998, and we visited the following places along the eclipse path: Sivas and its surroundings, Elazig, Lake Hazar, Diyarbakir, Basnik and Batman. Here I report some experiences from this trip. From Istanbul to Sivas, via Ankara, and from Batman to Istanbul, we flew by Turkish Airlines with comfortable planes (Boeing 737) and good crew and catering. The other part of the trip was made by bus, provided by Magister Tours Inc.

SIVAS: Sivas is located in the middle Anatolian Peninsula in the upper Kizilirmak zone and has an airport about 20 km from the city center. There are several good hotels in the city. There is also a university (5 km from the city center) with a campus which would make a suitable observing site (a grass-covered football pitch or a space near the buildings, only particularly covered by grass). It was very windy during our visit. Small hills surround the town. The university staff promised high security in the campus, electricity and accommodation. Unfortunately, as shown in the appended Table, the site is very far from the central line. The sky brightness on the day of the visit, August 7, 1998, was very low, even when there were a few clouds in the sky around noon. Fortunately they disappeared before the time of eclipse.

Going on our way we reached EMREKOY to the northwest, a place just on the central line. Only a few private houses are located there. A special camp should be prepared at this place. A few kilometers further (10 km) brought us to a small, lonely village called HAFIK. It is located in a small valley with many trees and municipal or private houses which can be used for accommodation. There are several places around the village to prepare camps for observations. I think some Japanese teams have already booked buildings in the village.

ELAZIG and its surrounding. Elazig is located in the upper part of the Euphratus region, surrounded by a crown of hills and the Keban and Karakaya dams. We visited four areas as possible observational places in this region. The first one was HARPUT. This hill is almost 200 m higher than the city, around 5 km to the northeast of Elazig. There is a restaurant at the top and, not very far from it, many private houses. The area around the top has several terraces. Electricity will be available, and also toilets (rest rooms). Unfortunately, there will not be any accommodation, only a camping area for tents. The hill continues very far in a flat terrain. It is supposed that scientists located here will have their accommodation in the University campus, down in the city. In the Elazig valley we visited 2 other places, the SUGAR FACTORY (accommodation available here for 40-60 people) with a huge, flat area directly inside the factory. Electricity and toilets will be guaranteed there. The third place is a BANK on the DAM. There is no electricity at this place at the moment, however, it is very close to the best possible observing place. Another place, very close to the dam, is the horse race track, with electricity and toilets. Both these places are located on the plane. The city has an airport with flights from Istanbul and Ankara.

HAZAR lake is located about 25 km southeast of Elazig. All facilities in the hotel TURPOL can be used for accommodation and a place around them, just at the lake, for observations. It is very lonely and beautiful place.

DIYARBAKIR is the biggest southeastern Anatolian city (a center of the region, with 400 000 inhabitants). It is very far from the central line and the total eclipse will last here for only 1-minute. Like many other big cities in the world, pollution there is very bad and I do not recommend this city for scientific observation of the eclipse. However, for visiting, yes! The city has an airport with a connection to Istanbul and Ankara.

BASNIK (now BADGERE) is located 55 km east of Diyarbakir, directly on the central line. This place is located on the plane with a strong and hot wind (we visited this place on August 12, 1998). It is intended to prepare a temporary campus there.

BATMAN was the last stop in our inspection. This city is also mostly on the plane and half-private oil factory is located there. It is intended to prepare an observational place directly in the factory, on the helicopter port or very close to it. Of course, individuals might choose to observe the eclipse directly from hotel areas. Batman also has air connection with Ankara and Istanbul. Batman, during our visit, also had heavier dust pollution than Elazig or Sivas.

Weather forecast: nearly 100 per cent clear sky at all visited places at the eclipse day in 1999!

My own impression: I personally prefer Harput or Sivas, mainly for the lower temperature (by about 5-10 degrees) than Basnik, Diyarbakir and Batman. The temperature in and around Sivas and Elazig was 30 degrees in Celcius. The sky brightness was also much better there. This was confirmed when we flew from Batman to Istanbul, over the Elazig and Sivas regions. Some orographic clouds could arise in the Diyarbakir and Batman regions for agricultural reasons, using water from the Euphrates and Tigris dams. It seems to me that the Elazig and nearby should be the best place for observation. We need to remember that this is the harvest period. Dust (debris) from the harvest could be dangerous for observers, when stirred by local winds.

I did not find any problem with Kurdish troubles during our visit to this part of Turkey, and all the people we met were very friendly. On the other hand, you may account a military check-point in this region, provided for your own safety. Mr. Kartopu confirmed that all camps prepared by his travel agency will be protected 24 hours a day. Roads are of satisfactory quality in the region visited, with right-hand drive and standard European road signs.

Table: Geographic position and duration of the eclipse at places visited on the eclipse path in Turkey

Place Latitude Longitude Elevation Totality

D M D M Meters


(Un. camp) 39 24.4 37 00.98 1341 1 m 0.1 s

Emrekoy 39 49.6 37 18.08 1310 2 14

Hafnik 39 50.35 37 24.48 1280 2 12

Harput 38 42.13 39 15.03 1372 2 06

Turpol 38 28.82 39 18.71 1400 1 46

Sugar F. 38 37.96 39 20.52 853 2 05

Horse r. 38 39.24 39 21.61 792 2 07

Dam 38 38.53 39 24.38 762 2 07

Basnik 38 07.41 40 44.44 853 2 09

Batman 37 52.12 41 08.00 488 2 08

Conclusions: If you want to participate in the August 11, 1999, eclipse in Turkey please contact: [email protected] and/or [email protected] Web page is


1/ An international meeting "The last total solar eclipse of the millennium in Turkey" will be held in Istanbul (August 13-15, 1999).

2/ Turkey is a very exciting country with many tourist attractions, e.g. Istanbul, Diyarbakir, dams on biblical rivers, Hasankeyf - one of the oldest places of settlement in the world (11 000 years BC).

3/ More details of places and about conditions in Turkey, as well as intended programs for the forthcoming 11 August 1999 eclipse can be found in the proceedings of "The solar eclipse 1999 workshop", held on August 8, 1998 in Prague (the Czech republ ic) as a part of JENAM'98 and issued by the Slovak Astronomical Society, 059 60 Tatranska Lomnica, The Slovak republic (P. Kotrc, E. Markova and V. Rusin editors). The proceedings are expected be available from January 1999. The estimated price 25 US D + 5 USD postage. Please contact: [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]

Acknowledgment. I would like to express my deepest thanks to Dr. A. Ozguc and Mr. Kartopu for their invitation to participate in this trip and for the excellent hospitality during this visit.

Tatranska Lomnica, November 1998 Voyto Rusin (e-mail: [email protected]) Astronomical Institute Slovak Academy of Sciences 059 60 Tatranska Lomnica Slovakia and Member of the IAU working group "Solar eclipses" (Chair: Prof. J.M. Pasachoff, [email protected]) and JOSO eclipse WG 7 (Chair: Dr. F. Clette, [email protected])

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