For more photos, go to 1999 Solar Eclipse Photos - Add Your Photos
Yes! Finally a total solar eclipse in our vicinity! This was a chance that I did not want to miss!
On tuesday morning, August 10th 1999, we started to drive towards northern France. We decided to go to a place a bit south of Luxembourgh, since that was closest to where we live and the weather forecast for that area was the best.
During our 5 or 6-hour trip there (about 380 km), the weather looked very bad. It was often raining, and we didn't see a lot of sun.
We found a valley where the weather turned out to be very good for a few hours, during which the sun was shining almost constantly. I guessed this could be because of a good micro-climate, and we decided to stay there.
Unfortunately, in the same valley, in the center of the village where we were, there was a very old and rusty looking factory. I have no idea what they produce, but huge pipe-lines ran across the village, even through gardens! When we tried to get some sleep in my car, suddenly a very strong ammonia-smell appeared, which covered the entire village. After 5 minutes we decided to leave and go somewhere else. I really don't understand that people want to live there (or that this is allowed in France). So eventually we stayed at a parking space at a MacDonalds.
The next day the weather was even worse. I was trying to find a weather forecast on the radio, when I heard something about a town called Perth, which was selected as an official site to view the eclipse (it has a good micro-climate and it is on the center of the totality zone). According to the weather forecast, we had to go to the west of France, so we started driving again. Since we didn't want to leave the totality zone, we had to use small roads between villages to get to the west (we were afraid that we would get stuck in a traffic jam outside of the totality zone). After 3.5 hours of driving too fast, it was 11:10 AM, and the eclipse had already started. The weather still wasn't very good, but to the west of us it looked even worse. After we passed the town Reims, I noticed a sign 'Perth 7' (km), so we drove there to watch the eclipse. Below you can see the photos that I made there.

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Perth (near Reims), France.
According to some Belgium radio-station this was an ideal place to view the eclipse, since it has a favourable micro-climate. We definitely were not the only ones to go here!
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Start of the eclipse.
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Start of the eclipse.
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Start of the eclipse.
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Start of the eclipse. Notice the cloudy sky!
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Start of the eclipse. Notice the cloudy sky!
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Start of the eclipse. Notice the cloudy sky!
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By now, it's gotten pretty dark.
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5 minutes before totality. But there are far too many clouds!
At this point, we decided to get into our car and drive as fast as we could to get a clearer view...
Less than a minute later we drove into the sunlight and we halted.
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TOTALITY
This looks really GREAT!
Using binoculars, I could see a bright blue corona.
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TOTALITY
As the moon passed to the lower left, very bright red or purple spots appeared on the upper right: Protuberances. I could see at least 10!
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TOTALITY
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TOTALITY
At the end of totality, a yellowish gloom became visible on the upper right corner. This made the image complete: All primary colors (blue, red, yellow) could be seen! These last one or two seconds were the best part of the entire eclipse!
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And - it's over!
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Although it's still dark.
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This is how the sun pictures on this site have been made, using projection with binoculars.
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The sun is coming back.
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This is the last photo I could take before the sun disappeared behind the clouds. This was the last bit of sun we would see for a few hours!
After the eclipse, we got into a lot of HUGE traffic jams (6 km, then 5 km, then 12 km and finallly 6 km). Driving home took us 13 (!) hours. In total, we have driven 1100 km. But it was worth it!

For more photos, go to 1999 Solar Eclipse Photos - Add Your Photos

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