Total Solar Eclipse in Nigerien Sahara
Replies: 31 - Last Post: Mar 29, 2006 1:45 PM Last Post By: utt959
Dec 7, 2005 1:11 PM
15khunlee, thanks a lot, especially for the cloud graph.
With Turkey ranging from 60 to 75% chance of having clouds and Niger and Libya below 40% that's quite a difference!
As for the french tourist getting killed, people get killed everywhere all the time, so unless killing of foreign tourists becomes rampant I wouldn't worry too much about it. Also consider that the authorities and local businesses have a financial interest in you and other tourists showing up and therefor may actually afford you some protection.
Dec 7, 2005 1:45 PM
16Even if you're not in the centre of the eclipse it can be pretty cool. Back in '99 when there was a Solar eclipse going through Europe I was in London and witnessed it from Greenwich Park (the place was packed) - it was only 95% (or something like that) in London - it was 100% in the South-West so tons of people flocked to see it there. They had cloud cover we didn't (or rather we did before and after but not during). We ended up getting a better experience than them and it only cost a tube-ticket. But I have to say seeing it in the middle of the desert would be very cool (quite literally - the temperature drops drastically during an eclipse).
Dec 7, 2005 9:07 PM
17Not sure how one measures having had a 'better experience' in such a case, unless it's simply that by not being in the path of totality, the expectations weren't as high - but fortunately, with the '06 Eclipse, there is SO much room to roam within the path of totality... there's just no need to settle for anything less than 100%. I understand that all of London could not simply up and leave for the day, and so it's quite cool, really, that the parks were full, and even more cool that so many were turned on by a 95% event. That being the case, I stridently urge everyone that's ever been even the slightest bit impressed by a partial eclipse - of which the oppotunity to view those are not rare at all - to GO EXPERIENCE TOTALITY! :-)))
A personal eclipse travel story...
When I was traveling to Zambia for the '01 Eclipse, I hooked up with a Briton named Rick in Botswana who saw the '99 eclipse from the UK. His S.African trip was anchored around hitting up Vic Falls, while mine anchored around the June 21 event north of Lusaka. He was a bungee freak and hadn't done Vic Falls yet, which although I was also going to the falls, I wasn't so interested in jumping. I was trying to convince him to hit Zambia with me for the eclipse, but he wasn't so interested in that. He said he'd "seen one" in '99 and wasn't all that impressed or too sure what all the excitement was about. I told him that to be in the path of totality for a solar eclipse, the umbral shadow, viewing the solar corona with the naked eye, was incomparable to even 99%, where you aren't privy to the true spectacle of what draws eclipse chasers in. So I wasn't surprised with his lack of enthusiasm, but I think my energy for it infused him. I 'guaranteed' him he'd be blown away if he came with me, and we agreed that if I bungeed Vic Falls, he'd do the eclipse. Well I did bungee, and thought it was really very cool - we had a breezy day and the mists from the falls were carrying right up the gorge and under the bridge over the Zambezi. Free-falling into a scene like that was positively breathtaking. But for him, that June 21 eclipse was like a religious experience! All through the morning of eclipse day was the predictably amazing pre-eclipse excitement and buzz - one of the most intense collective human energies I've ever felt. We were trekking all along through the local villages for at least 3 hours before totality and the kids and the parents and the vendors and the soldiers and everyone was just vibrating - and there was a palpable sense of confusion, as well. For the locals, what was this great event really, that they waited alongside all these wide-eyed foreigners to see? That brought them all the way to our little north Zambian village? (Don't remember the village names, but we were about 10km from Chisamba - if anyone's interested.) Well, in the final seconds, when totality is cued up and the light starts dropping fast - to near actual darkness, the adrenaline really starts to flow. And in this case, for me, well I've never spent so much of my own time during totality looking at someone else rather than the sky - but the expression of awe on Rick's face was priceless! He was positively slack jawed, and when he was able to gather himself for a few seconds at a time during the darkness, he could only grin. The whole scene was just beautiful. Everyone was completely high afterwards - all the way until dusk, really, when the sun falls away and you see it in whole new, or REnewed, perspective. And on to what are the starriest of nights, the awe remains... a total solar eclipse, after all, is no more than greatest new moon. Anyway, Rick was quite certain that he'd not truly "seen" a solar eclipse before that.
And for me, personally, even if the forecast called for a hurricane, I would never venture outside the path of totality on eclipse day, even if it meant a chance of viewing it 99% under a crystal clear sky. Then again, those who may be less passionate about this than I, might feel differently. But no matter - for those about to go umbral, penumbral or whatever - ENJOY!! :-)
Dec 7, 2005 9:18 PM
Dec 7, 2005 11:01 PM
19Go for totality!!!
I was in East Sussex in August '99 and decided to trade in my 97% totality for 100% I packed up my things and went on a road trip to Cornwall. SUre, the clouds were out, but I saw the sweeping shroud of a shadow coem form the sea and envelop the land. It was amazing--and the lgiht was so intense that it burned off the clouds!
So worth it.
Get in that band, or else!!!
I'll be in Brazil for sunrise next time...
We'll see how that all works out.
All the best
Dec 8, 2005 12:43 AM
It's nice to see a small but passionate community of umbraphiles developing here. :-)
ottodv: The cloud graph is useful for comparing between sites. The real probability of seeing the eclipse is significantly higher than the graph may suggest. If I'm lucky, Accra will afford me 181 seconds of totality. The chance I think is better than 50%
It's true that people get killed everywhere, but there is, I've learned, a persistent, however low, risk in the area around Agadez due to Tuareg discontents with Niamey government.
But that's just the final straw against Niger for me. The tours are expensive and involve VERY long distance. I'm not sure how much I will enjoy a week or even two spending days and nights in a tour. Like most of us on LP, I don't think I'm cut for group travelling, especially when there will be like 50 other groups in the same area at the same time.
Ghana, on the other hand, sounds very alluring with friendly people and relaxed atmosphere. After a month in Mali/Burkina, I think it will be a lot more pleasant than the desert!
christhart, sohb: Good luck in Brazil. I'll pick up the eclipse from you across the ocean in Accra, before handing it over to our friends, ineclipse and utt959.
ineclipse: I think I must have the same look on my face as your friend Rick when I saw my first. I actually dreamt about it last night. Not the real-life kind -- very weird and colorful. I even touched it. What a dream!
Dec 8, 2005 5:57 AM
Dec 8, 2005 12:26 PM
Would anyone know about the boarder crossing at Saloum, Eqypt?
I'd also like to rent a car in Cairo and cross over to Libya. Is the best plan to stay in Mersah Matruh and make a day trip into Libya? If so, what time is the viewing time in Libya. We'd have to do some research on boarder times.
Dec 12, 2005 8:02 AM
23I was in Hungary for the '99 eclipse we had 100% and I had a telescope with me. It was the most wonderful thing! You could see the solar flames so well through the telescope. Besides that we could see that hills in the distance around us were still in the sun while we were in the "dark".
When we left for Hungary, the forecast was bad wheather for Hungary and good wheather for France (our other option), but Hungary was closer to the greatest eclipse which at the time was in Romania, and we had planned to travel to Bosnia after the eclipse, so we took the risk. Amazingly enough the day of the eclipse the skies over Hungary were clear and France was covered! So you never can tell. For the Venus transition in '04 however I was not so lucky, I was in the only place in Europe with cloud cover in that case I should have paid more attention to the forecasts.
In '99 I promised myself to see every next solar eclipse that I could, I missed the '01 eclipse, but won't mis the '06 eclipse. As for not being in the 100% area, that is simply not an option. It never even crossed my mind before people on this board started to talk about it!
Furthermore I agree with khunlee about group traveling, it is not something that I would really want to do. Furthermore when traveling alone to Niger, you are going to have problems arranging accomodation and transport to the eclipse area, because there probably have never been so many tourists in Niger before so all resources will be sold to the highest bidder!
Dec 12, 2005 1:23 PM
Dec 13, 2005 6:41 AM
Dec 30, 2005 1:51 AM
Jan 11, 2006 12:01 AM
27I'm going to be on the line of totality one way or another - I'm already chuffed... Realistically, Saloum sounds like the most viable option for me this time. But looking forward to it!
would definatlely be interested in finding out the latest about the border crossing to libya (anyone researched that carefully yet?), but the eclipse is the main thing for me for this part of this trip... Cool.
Mar 20, 2006 6:01 PM
28Hey New Yorkers! Here is an invitation to an eclipse gathering on the 29th, for those who can't go to the real thing:
On the Paraguana Peninsula, Venezuela, 1998:
"My body flushed hot and the atmosphere set to buzzing, the collapsed rays of the sun lending the eeriest iridescent glow to the air itself. Objects and people seemed outlined, almost two-dimensional, as the light not only faded, but changed its structure. A star appeared. The feeling built with the accelerating heat of an orgasm, as the last hot gleam of the sun vanished - and lights out. The sun exploded into bloom; a pearly-petaled space flower hanging silently in the twilight, but for our uncontrollable shouts of glee. Three planets - Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter, were all clearly visible, in alignment with this unnatural, feather-crowned anti-sun…"
On March 29, a total solar eclipse will brush a dark stroke from Brazil to Mongolia, and thousands of people will flock to various sites along its path, having consulted NASA maps and weather statistics to find their spot. For many it’s on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, where a massive party is planned. Some will hump it through the deserts of Niger, Chad, or Libya (the point of greatest eclipse) to witness the awesome spectacle in the stark and pounding silence of one of Earth's empty patches.
Okay fine, so we'll be watching it in a bar.
On a big screen we'll project the day's web casts of the event from various exotic locations, reports from the field, trippy space shit, and funky travel footage. We'll trade travel stories with adventurous campadres, and have some beers (and who can think of a good "eclipse shot?"). So if you're backpacker, eclipse chaser, experimental traveler, or just have a peculiar sense of curiosity, come to:
211 Avenue A (between 13th & 14th Sts.)
At y'know, like 8:00
And hey, we'd love to show your travel footage and/or photos, eclipse-related or not. Shoot an email to let us know what you got or just bring it by (mini DV, mpeg/jpeg on CD or flash drive)
Oh yeah, it’s free, and no costumes needed, although I did once see a bunch of people with black circles and orange halos painted on their foreheads
Mar 21, 2006 8:11 AM
29I'm in Luxor and am winding my way to Saloom on the 29th. Does anyone have any info on accomodations? I've heard they are sparse and there may be 10,000 people there.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$25.83 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$100.20 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$93.81 per night