The total solar eclipse of 29. March 2006 7. April 2006, Martin Elsässer


We observed the total eclipse in turkey, on a small hilltop 10km from the sea, having spent a few days searching for a good location and worrying about the weather. The coordinates of the summit are N36° 46' 3", E31° 39' 54" at a height of 483m above sea level. The location gave us 229s of totality and a splendid view over the land and sea, to see the approach of the moons shadow. The summit also held a transmitter for mobile phones and an abandoned building, which provided some infrastructure.
The weather was essentially perfect, only very thin wisps of clouds appeared just before the 4th contact.


About 50 people from several nations gathered on that hilltop, though it could only be reached on a very bad, unpaved road. This friendly crowd really enjoyed the show and gathered for some group photographs after totality.
From the Munich observatory Alex, Carola, Sandra, Julian, Manfred, Josef, Tobias and myself (Martin) had gathered on that hilltop, with at least 10 additional members of our club present at other locations in Turkey and another 20 members in Egypt/Lybia.


I brought a 500mm lens on a tripod to the site, to image the eclipsed sun. The camera was controlled by the notebook to take series of images during totality. I did not use a tracking mount, so i had to limit my exposure times to less then 0.25s.
foto instrumen

I also brought a 80mm refractor for visual observation. We used a magnification of 20x, which gave us a splendid view of the suns disk, sunspots, granulation and later the prominences and corona. Everybody enjoyed the views through that instrument.
visual instrument

Our friends also brought some instruments and prepared to use them, bending their bodies into the required shapes.
foto instrument

Video of the partial phases

The images of the partial phases were combined to a AVI video (in DivX5 format).
Video of the partial phases (760KB)

Wide-angle views

I used a 12mm lens on a Canon 300D to capture wide-angle views of the approaching shadow, the dark landscape and the sky during totality.
Turning the lens towards the sky, with totality about to end showed the eclipsed sun, venus and also mercury (exactly between venus and the sun). totality sky

Images of the eclipsed sun

I took about 120 images of the sun during totality, covering a wide range of exposure times. I used a 500mm telefoto lens with a Canon 350D digital camera, which was controlled by the DSLR Focus software.

Several prominences could be seen during totality and the corona was just spectacular. At the beginning of totality, several nice prominences could be seen on the eastern rim of the sun.
totality begin
At the end of totality, the western rim of the sun also provided some nice views.
totality end
At this point, the camera refused the continue with the programmed sequence, so i could not capture the baileys beads as intended.

Combining and processing the images of the corona proved to be more difficult then expected. Here is a first attempt, stacking 9 separate images to show the full brightness range of the corona.
Applying a self-programmed digital filter to enhance the structures in the inner corona resulted in this very interesting image.
corona false color
The filter calculates an average brightness in rings around the solar disk and then enhances deviations from this average value. The visibility of brightness detail is enhanced, as expected, but what about those colors!? The colors are obviously not just random... Strange...
The colors just show variations in brightness, they do not resemble real color variations in any way. Several small issues with the filter-programming caused this interesting effect.

Novosibirsk, Russia 2008

The next chance to see a total eclipse is on 1. August 2008.
We are already discussing the options to get there (train, airplane, walk, swim...) and what equipment to bring (None? Even more?).
CU there.

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