Solar Eclipses


Green Flashes

diamondring1999.jpg - 5638 Bytes The photo on the left was taken just as the moon moved from totally covering the sun. At that time, a small bit of light escaped through the valleys of the moon causing an image similar to a diamond ring. This phenomenon is commonly known as the "diamond ring" effect. The diamond ring does not always occur, and depends on the orientation of the moon. The diamond ring effect can also occur just before the totality of an eclipse.

eclipse99.jpg - 2739 Bytes The viewing of the solar eclipse while totally eclipsed is shown in the photo to the right. We always think the last eclipse we see as the best one yet, and this viewing was exceptionally clear with little if any haze in the sky. We saw red flares and spots of red color around the edge of the eclipsed sun that were either solar prominences or Bailey's Beads. Solar prominences are enormous eruptions of burning gas from the sun. Bailey's Beads are several bright beads along the edge of the eclipsed sun caused by valleys on the moon. The corona, the white glowing outer atmosphere of the sun, surrounded the entire perimeter of the blackened sun, and was streaked by solar magnetic fields streaming outward from the sun. The eclipse lasted 2 minutes and 21 seconds. Our viewing was from a cruise ship positioned on the center line of the eclipse path at a latitude of 43 degrees 6.616 minutes north and a longitude of 29 degrees 43.069 minutes east. This position is approximately 115 miles north of Turkey and 75 miles east of Varna, Bulgaria in the Black Sea.

We, my wife and I, have seen eight total solar eclipses, in the USA (Virginia), Mexico, Chile, South China Sea, Galapagos Islands, Black Sea, Africa, and Australia. Fortunately, the weather for all of these eclipses was excellent. Eclipse sites are spread all over the world, and if such sites are used as a focus for the selection of travel, it gives one an opportunity to see a variety of different cultures.

The Green Flash

The green flash is a phenomenon of the sun when it sets or rises. Just as the top of the sun is setting or rising, there is a small horizontal green or sometimes bluish streak at the top of the sun. We look for the green flash while on a cruise ship or beach, but have never seen the green flash from a ship. We have seen it three times at the same location on a beach in Uruguay, once in December 1996, and twice in February 2000. People living in the area claim to see the green flash frequently.

Click here to see a picture of a green flash.

Click here for more on the green flash.