2005 October3rd - Annular Solar Eclipse Day
(and 30th Wedding Anniversary)

A day in which Andrew changes his plans and fails to capture the eclipse on camera

As usual, it was an early start - a 6.00am departure to find an eclipse viewing site in the desert south of Tataouine, towards the Libyan border. We saw the Sun rise as we headed along a tarmac-ed road in our 4 x 4s, stopping briefly at Ksar Ouled Soltan to take in the view and assess the gathering clouds. Heading further south we were looking for a site with at least a few trees - to make the partial phases more interesting and to provide some shade. A mile or so after passing a small row of trees by the roadside, the landscape appeared to become totally treeless, so we backtracked and settled on: 

Latitude:  N 32o 39' 24.7"
Longitude:  E 10o 28' 17.7"
Altitude: 238 metres

We promptly set up our equipment (travelling a bit lighter than usual with just the two tripods) and posed ready for the coming event.


Set up and ready to go with 4x4 vehicles parked far enough away and convenient tree.

The cloud on the horizon and the clump of cumulus in the southern sky were slightly worrying, but it began to dissipate as we watched, and so we decided to stay put. We took a couple of photos and a few seconds of video before the eclipse started, to show the full Sun, then Andrew spotted first contact at 08.53.33, at least that's when he saw the "first bite" (see calculated timings on temperature/humidity results page)

Around us our fellow holiday makers had set up, too, with observing equipment straight out of the guide to eclipse viewing.


1. Binoculars secured by neck strap to rock 
2. Pinhole projection


Viewing the reflected sun in bowl of water
(Not my preferred option, I have to say)


Pinholes and projection result

We had our own pinhole projection, too to celebrate the day

30th Anniversary - 3rd Oct 2005 in crescent suns

With a gathering crowd of our 4 x 4 drivers and a passing French tourist, Andrew demonstrated the "crescent Suns through leaves acting as pinholes" routine (hence the hunt for a site with trees).

We continued taking photographs and video throughout the partial phases, then the big moment of annularity. While the video ran, we both looked through our (filtered) binoculars at the fantastic event taking place in a clear blue sky, Andrew clicked away merrily at the camera - oops. At the last minute there was a change of plan and he decided to use a 300mm lens plus 2x converter as for all the other eclipses - bad choice on the digital SLR as the net 600mm lens is really about 900mm, so the Sun drifted a bit quicker than usual. So as the Moon made second contact with the Sun, the image made 3rd contact with the camera and just drifted away leaving - nothing.

However, the camcorder worked and, as for the Panama Annular six months ago we turn to the camcorder for some images.

Sequence of pictures taken from the camcorder


mid-eclipse

As usual we took the temperature and relative humidity measuring instruments with us (indoor/outdoor thermometer and the thermochrons)


Indoor bit located in tree


Tree with elevated and ground level thermochrons, and a third buried by the tripod
(A thermochron is a temperature logger, recording the temperature every minute)


Outdoor bit and ground thermochron

The results can be seen on a separate page viewable from here 

... and what of the happy couple...

To celebrate our anniversary, this eclipse and our travels to view others, a member of our group wrote this Haiku*.

A pair - thirty years
Sharing a rare interest
Sun and moon world-wide

It was 2 days before we saw the moon again - from Tunis

* Haiku is a form of traditional Japanese poetry - it is a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

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©2005 Val and Andrew White
Haiku ©3rd Oct 2005, Coral Grundey