August 11, 1999|
I slept dismally the night 11/12 August. In the anticipation of the event, luck abandoned us. At 5:30 in the morning it was raining! We packed and left at 6:30. Still raining. The whole drive from Maribor to the observation site (which we had visited a week before in scorching heat!) it was raining. At the site a major surprise awaited us - a huge crowd. Who would've thought others were just as original as we were? As it turned out, many of the people were just turists pasing by and taking a rest. At 8:15, more than three hours until the beginning of the partial eclipse it was still cloudy, but at least it had stopped raining! At 9:00 we notice the clouds breaking apart - yahoo, perhaps the meteorologists got it wrong and it would clear up?! We found new hope. But only a short glance at the horizon proved otherwise - mostly cumulus and altocumulus, but by now I was pretty convinced we would not see the total eclipse in clear weather... ...if we get to see it at all... I set up the camera and take two shots of the Sun.
At 11:23 LT, the first contact, a huge thick clouds lumbers in front of the Sun. The nerve!! Two minutes later we can see through clouds that a small part of the Sun is missing. It has started! With still an hour and a half to go until the totality we ask ourselves whether it might be better to follow the clearing towards Hungary. We decide to stand our ground and hope for the best. I observe the Sun through binoculars and whenever there is a clearing use the time to take a shot of the Sun. With 20 minutes to go only a slender crescent remanis of the Sun. I change the film. This is the third one!
We all look above and await the total eclipse. The last ten minutes before the totality I check my watch every minute. I'm nervous. Just a second and it'll be gone. The bright clouds in the west suddenly darken, the shadow is coming! The first cries of excitement and... Right at the moment of the totality a cloud covers the Sun. Thank God, it's only a thin and small cloud, and the wind quickly blows it away. During totality a small gap in the clouds formed and we could see the black Sun, the corona and the prominences...
And in the end, the Diamond ring. The sight cannot be describet. The images don't show it all. Everyone should see it and I have made up my mind, this is not my last one! And as quickly as it got dark, and I mean dark - the streetlamps turned on - it got bright again. Along with the black Sun I won't forget two things: the entire horizon being red-orange and the sky dark blue-black. The second thing happened just before totality, as only a slender sliver of the Sun illuminated us, the colors of the surroundings changed. As if the yellow sun suddenly became silver. Every color became a hint of silver. Magnificent!
The totality was all too short and most turists began leaving at the end of it. We stayed. I shot the last, fifth film roll and then leave for home. You won't believe it, but in 30 minutes after totality, the sky completely cleared. My friends observed from Balaton and I hope they had more luck with the weather.
The next total solar eclipse visible from Slovenia will be in 2081, when I'm 100. I hope my health is good. The next total solar eclipse will be visible from southern Africa and Madagascar on June 21 at 12:05 UT.
Temperature, pressure and humidity during the Total Solar eclipse,
August 11 1999, Pinkafeld, Austria.
Orange line marks the time of totality.
The text and figures on this page are © 1999 by MBK Team.