Gallery Report
Programmer: Bill Kramer
Last update: April 17 2015


Total Solar Eclipse 2002

The eclipse path of December 4th, 2002 passed over Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and a small part of Mozambique before running across the Indian Ocean to sun set in the south of Australia. This eclipse was short, reaching just over 2 minutes at the maximum, in the middle of the ocean. The maximum time for land viewing was southern Africa where the weather forecasts called for the beginning of the rainy season and thus clouds. Australia was given the best weather prospects but the eclipse would be near sunset and only a scant 30 seconds in duration.

Report from Zimbabwe

-by Bill Kramer

We joined a band of 22 eclipse-chasers that had selected to go to the dry area of southern Zimbabwe where the duration and chances for favorable weather were maximized. The gamble paid off, we had wonderful weather in the days preceeding the eclipse, and great weather on the big day itself. We saw clouds to the south, towards Kruger in South Africa and they never threatened our position.

But what amazed all of us is how the clouds and rains came in the days that followed! We had grown accustomed to the clear and sunny days that greeted us on entry to Zimbabwe. After the eclipse we never did get another opportunity to view the night sky under completely clear conditions.

Observation details

  • Rest area at central line on Beitbridge-Bulawayo Road
  • South 22 degrees, 5.881 minutes
  • East 29 degrees, 58.657 minutes
  • 1749 feet above sea level
  • Duration: 1 minute, 22 seconds
  • Weather Conditions

    Clear sky overhead and in all directions except to the south (towards South Africa). Light wisps of cloud did move in our direction but did not obscure the eclipse at any time. During totality, sky remained clear except towards South and East horizons providing a nice view of the sunset type colors during and after totality as the shadow moved overhead. Temperatures were in the high 70's and did dip considerably during totality (recorded minimum by Gordon was 71.6 F).

    Links to external websites

    Glenn Schneider - OZ outback
    Fred Bruenjes - OZ
    Williams College - OZ
    Xavier Jubier - OZ

    List presented in random order

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