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Programmer: Bill Kramer
Last update: April 17 2015

Report

Total Solar Eclipse 2001

The eclipse of June 21st, 2001, occurring just a few hours after the solstice, tracing a path that started in the western Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. The line swept across the Atlantic in an eastward direction and touched the continent of Africa on the coast of Angola. At maximum, off the coast of Africa, the eclipse lasted just under five minutes. Weather projections and difficulties involved in navigating that portion of the ocean doomed several attempts to get cruise ship companies into the line of totality. As the eclipse path struck land in Angola, the duration quickly shortened as it sped east. By the border of Zambia, the eclipse was under four minutes, and closing on three minutes as it entered Zimbabwe.

Report from Zambia

-Bill Kramer

After spending several wonderful days in the Victoria Falls area of Zimbabwe, we made our way north into Zambia the day before the eclipse. Our location was about 70 kilometers north of the capital city Lusaka at the following coordinates as determined using two GPS units in the field.

  • Latitude: South 14 degrees 53 minutes 47.3 seconds
  • Longitude: East 28 degrees 3 minutes 38.0 seconds
  • Elevation: 1190 meters above sea level
  • First contact: 13:41
  • Second contact: 15:09
  • Duration: 3 minutes, 35 seconds
  • The corona was bright, very round, with five primary streamers. One of the streamers was quite thick and several other observers reported it as being two streamers for a total of six. At second contact a very large prominence was seen near the location of the largest streamer. Through the telescope the prominence was detached from the sphere and floating in space. There were many other smaller bits of the chromosphere nearby as well indicating a large explosive release of energy had recently reached the surface at that location. Above the prominence the corona was bent like a flame with a faint greenish glow near the central portion going to a shimmering white like the streamers at the edge.

    Several other large spike flares were visible near the poles, one that looked like a jet flame twisting as it rose from the surface. The corona was very bright and the eclipse sky was bright as a result. Jupiter was clearly seen along with the brighter stars of Orion. Mercury was not visible to the eye and I did not have time to look for it with binoculars. The corona streamers could be seen out to three solar diameters before they melted into the background.

    Because of smoke caused by biomass burning in the area (it is the dry season), a thin haze was visible to the west. Overhead the clarity was fine but not the best (during the night, the Milky Way was seen clearly to about ten degrees above the horizon). As the shadow approached it was visible against the thin smoky haze. It was a giant curtain of darkness rushing at an incredible speed straight at us. The shadow pounced upon us and in seconds we were plunged into the darkness of the eclipse. A large prominence shown brightly at second contact with long streamers extending around a chaotic shaped corona. After third contact the shadow could be seen racing off to the south east towards Lusaka.

    Links to external websites

    Richard Bareford - Chirundu Zimbabwe China

    List presented in random order



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