Friday, December 09, 2005

Chasing shadows

On the 29th of March 2006, there will be a total solar eclipse visible from Africa and Asia. It belongs to Saros cycle 139, which is really a useless piece of information to all but the most determined trivia collectors.

I had an opportunity to go up to Rimnicu Vilcea in August 1999 for the eclipse, but didn't take it up, being satisfied instead with a piece of welder's glass and a partial eclipse of about 70% in central Athens.

The last total solar eclipse visible from Greek soil was in 1936. At that time, the parts of Greece from which the 2006 total solar eclipse will be visible were not yet part of Greece but under the control of Fascist Italy. The islands in question were handed over with the rest of the Dodecanese in 1948 as part of the reparations after the second world war.

The plan is to go to Megisti / Kastelorizo to sit under the moon's shadow for the first time in my life.

In the map below, the higher red line is the northern limit of the eclipse, the lower one is the central line. Megisti should get about 3 full minutes of totality.

The problem, of course is the "unproductive line" element of the whole thing. There is, not surprisingly, no direct connection to Athens from Megisti for the island's 275 inhabitants. There are no regular boats, and the plane goes via Rhodes. All this coupled with the fact that the eclipse is on a Wednesday means that we have to go out for more than just a few days.

More news and updates as the situation changes and becomes clearer.

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