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This article is from the In-Depth Report It's Back! Total Solar Eclipse Hits Skies Friday

Under the Spell of the Black Sun [Slide Show]

Images of the solar eclipse of March 29, 2006



Sebastian Voltmer

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Although the skies in central Europe were clouded over, observers in Mediterranean countries had an unobstructed view of this unique natural spectacle.

A few flight hours were all it took to reach the totality zone of the eclipse, which extended over North Africa and the Mediterranean. Side, on the Turkish Riviera, and As Sallum in the extreme northwestern corner of Egypt on the Libyan border, were among the most promising observation sites. According to local authorities, about 16,500 people had gathered at As Sallum alone to view the event.

View Photos from the 2006 Solar Eclipse

The images in this article prove that the efforts involved in the trip, particularly to transport the instruments to the observation site, were well worth it. Ideal weather conditions made possible exquisite images of the heavens during the totality phase, the protuberances, and the unusually richly structured solar corona.

The range of optics used extended from conventional cameras with telephoto lenses to combinations consisting of digital cameras with high-quality lens telescopes. In addition to the numerous images that we received from correspondents, to whom we wish to express our thanks, several readers captured their visual impressions in words. Armin Moritz, a teacher at the Johanneum Gymnasium in Herborn, Germany, experienced the eclipse with his students on the beach at Side:

"We had always imagined that the moon shadow was like a wall, but we could never quite make it out. Everything became very dark very quickly during the final seconds of totality, although not as dark as at night. The horizon was illuminated with a red and orange like in the evening shortly after sundown. Because of this, we could only see [the planet] Venus; none of the other stars were visible.

"The solar corona glowed in shining white light for three and a half minutes. Reddish solar protuberances could be seen in various places. The atmosphere on the beach was majestic and simply cannot be described in words. The sun reappeared much too quickly from behind the moon. Its first light beams blinded us, and the corona disappeared. After the event, many broke out in spontaneous applause."

View Photos from the 2006 Solar Eclipse

Compiled by Tilmann Althaus and Martin J. Neumann

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