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Report on the Total Solar Eclipse of 1999 Aug 11

by Dr. Eric Flescher (Nagyvazsony, Hungary)

A note about the eclipse of 8/11 and the results from the eclipse tour by Out and About Travel tour that I was co-leader.

Highlights of Vienna - Jewish museum; Butterfly garden; all the beautiful buildings.Highlights of Budpest- Overlook over Danube from St. Mathias church; ride on Danube; Jewish museum and synagogue; the food; palaces;

We were staying in Hevis, near Lake Balaton after a beautiful time in Vienna.4 of us traveled completely around Lake Balaton to check out conditions and sites.That night brilliant starlight skies.We could sleep easily after all that worrying today.

3:30 in the morning woke up to blinding rain and storms.Coming down to breakfast feeling our chances were cooked just like the hard boiled eggs, we saw there was a big blue patch in the sky from the west and growing.Wow there is hope!!!!!!!!

After seeing the conditions and calculating the weather flow , (4 of us went around Lake Balaton the night before to check out Siofok), I decided we should change our plans and not to go to Siofok, on Lake Balaton, but to head NW of the lake along the centerline.

At 8 we headed out, me in the lead car with 2 others and our full bus behind.After looking at the sky and thinking about the it , I directed the group of 40 to a small town called Nagyvazsony almost parallel to Baltonfured on the centerline but a little to the north and west.We camped in a big field (after getting permission) with 360 degree full view and Nagyvazsony 600 yards to the south and a small town to the south 1/2 mile away.We were up on a little hill, elevation not sure.

The clouds swirled around and moved to the South east.The weather improved as the big clearing headed toward Lake Balaton but patches of blue sky opened all around.Pretty clear all the way.We were in a big clear patch and this is where I decided we should stay.People set up equipment.I was confident that we would be okay, despite the mud in the field.

Highlights

(1) I set up my camcorder on the tripod to capture the darkening and the shadow, First contact- mostly clear as the children climbed the 20 foot haystack and people ate lunch and set up.It was starting to get exciting and I thought - imagine seeing these skies after seeing all that rain at 3:30.I thought we were "cooked."

(2) The moon kept up its rapid advance and then it was half covered.I shouted to look at the swallows that came out to feed on the insects that were all of a sudden coming out- 20 minutes before totality.The sky was bluer and the temperature got cooler.A dog near some campers from the Czech republic we could see was getting nervous.

(3) The thin cumulus clouds rolled over the sun but I was not worried as the circulation was bringing clear skies from the northwest.The other clouds near the horizon to the northwest stuck there.A thin crescent appeared.

(4) The shout- "shadow bands " around 2 minutes 2nd contact before rang out.I looked but could not see them as everyone shouted "there they are" as they raced over the white paper on the pasteur ground.

(5) Here it comes.Shadow obscured a cumulus cloud and a horizontal bank of clouds about 7 degrees about the horizon (I have on videotape).The shadow moved in after rising above the cloud bank.The blue over took us as I swiveled the video camera to the sun after capturing the shadow darkening.

(6) The diamond ring spread gold all around the sun.Even as it glinted for a long time , I could see the inner corona.We had full 360 degree view of ring of fire.Bells rang in the town to the south.

(7) I looked up after recording the corona.I zoomed in and out to get prominences which some saw with naked eye but I could not.The golden corona with the golden spikes were glorious.Venus was clearly seen.The golden color of the corona reminded me of that blue gold color on the landscape near Brandon in Canada in 1979.The spikes in the corona were all around just as the SOHO satellite had pictured it a week before the trip.More spikey and pointed but such a pretty GOLD.White Venus was easy to spot below.The corona was much more a yellow gold then the Caribbean eclipse and it stood out more against the sky then settling into the azure blue background like the 1998 eclipse off Montserat.

(8) It was darker then the 1998, 1979, 1991, 1973 eclipse.Not as dark as 1972 in Arasaig.

(9) I kept zooming in and out and the prominences were at 7,3 and 1 o'clock.

(10) 3rd contact and the diamond ring and 5 seconds later the light clouds skirted the sun.I could not take the video off it but I did.I didn't want to let go if there beautiful moments.This was my 6th total, my wife's 2nd and son's first.The group was talking about everything we saw.

There was an eclipse festival in town 600 yards away and they had telescopes still set up, sold eclipse stamps and more.An amateur still had his telescope linked to his computer and webcam.It was great day indeed and everyone.

I looked at my video in the car as were going back to Hevis.I got great shots of the corona, darkening, landscape and much more.That was my main goal.I was really pleased about how the video came out.Only thing I forgot to do was zoom out again slowly to get Venus and the stars.Maybe I can see it when I zoomed in.

Budapest had some real beautiful views.

My plans- edit the videotape and make a tape of it for our trip and include not only the eclipse but the trip too like I did last year.It should be an even better tape then last year! Also I will isolate frames with my mac to get more pics.

I will then put up poetry and accounts of the people on our trip (and others who want to contribute) -on the black sun website have special section about the eclipse and trip.

We were lucky as others did not see it or have as good a conditions as us.Plans for 2001 starting now- the eclipse elixir makes you that way.(Coming the eclipse elixir poem).

Looking forward to sharing accounts. More later

Eclipse Elixirby Eric Flescher, Ed.D. ([email protected])The star studded night before the eclipse day,Pretended to show the way,3:30 in the morning we heard the storms and rain,Causing thoughts of doom and pain,Dismal outlook, down to breakfast, a big mope,Blue sky, hurray!, we had hope,Instead of feeling "cooked,"We felt again felt eclipse "hooked,"Packing equipment, board the bus, onward Northwest to Nagyvazsony,Watching clouds and blue clearings, decisions to be made, not phony,600 yards, a field, some mud, a haystack,Town to the South, a tent with students, full circle view - unpack,Shuttle runs into town, eating, setting up tripods, waiting,First contact, the countdown, anticipating,Half covered sun, clouds swirled around,Cooler it seemed, the sky darker, the swallows suddenly did abound,The rapid advance, fleeting clouds, the sun was a sliver, Shadow bands, the cloud layer on the horizon turned dark bluer,Yells started, the diamond ring flashed,Spikes around the sun, the golden corona, unabashed,White Venus, reddish prominences, azure sky, the ring of fire,All to drink, the remarkable scene, we did not tire, Onward explicably, the beauty, we not want to think of the end, The diamond ring, the flash, the last gasp, the white clouds, the celestial mend,Success, the joy, the celestial eclipse elixir,We had beaten, the cruel, weather trickster. 

1999 Total Eclipse Reports and Photos

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