Eclipse - Turquey 29th March 2006
An opportunity to enjoy 3 minutes 50 secondes of magie and discover a new country...

French version here


Observation site

Turquie: Gundogdu Beldesi Dikilitas close to the city of Side
lon 31°17' 45.0" E (31.283333)
lat 36°49' 05.1" N (36.816667)
alt 15 meters

Our observation site was quasi ideal, not far from the beach, a little bit higher than the sea level. It permitted us to bring the car close to the instruments. Some of us could even benefit from electricity thanks to a close restaurant which allowed us to plug in on the main.

The map of the eclipse and the animation of the phenomena to prepare the eclipse are visible here

Hotel Diamond Beach

Observation site

The instruments

Digital video Camera recorder Sony 3 Mega pixels
Refractor Perl Halley 70/400mm and digital camera Nikon D70
on a very compact equatorial mount Takahashi Sky Patrol II

On standard tripod, small digital camera Sony DSC W12 with optic add-on Cokin x0.6 for the large-field image

The images

About 3 minutes 50 secondes of totality... and so little time to do everything: video, telescope views, and large field images, without forgetting to look with my own eyes... some stressfull but absolutly magic experience. 

Digital camera Sony DSC W12 with optic add-on Cokin x0.6 on normal tripod

200 ASA - 1/13s

It is 2:00pm and it's night... impossible to read the LCD screen of the digital camera with the exposure indications... 
The sun becomes black as the moon pass in front of the sun and covers it completely

A bright ring appears around the black disk, it's the solar corona. The bright spot on the bottom right in the sky is the Venus planet.
The solar corona is not visible during normal day as it is thousand times less bright than the sun itself.

Complete sequence

The total duration of the phenomena is about 3 hours. The eclipse begins with a partial phase. The moon covers the sun disk little by little, the luminosity decrease and this decrease becomes clearly perceptible about 45 minutes before the totality. As the moon starts to completely cover the sun, this is the start of the totality phase with the apparition of the diamond. Then, the corona appears, this is the magic moment, the inner coronna and the external corona appear. The time is running... 3 minutes and few secondes later the exit diamond notifies the end of the totality. Time to put back the filter to continue to observe the final partial phase.elle finale.

The solar corona

Refractor Perl Halley 70/400mm and Nikon D70 - 200 ASA - rawi mages

With Iris

Addition of different exposure images: Image 1: 1/1000 + 1/500 +1/250 +1/125 - Image 2: 1/60 + 1/15 - Image3: 1/8 + 1/4

With Photoshop

Composition with the technic of the fusion mask with gaussian filter, then radial filter (value 5) applied then mutliplied to the flattened image. See the excellent tutorial from Russel Brown

The solar corona is consituted by gaz streams highly ionized, under the form of plasma, which follow the lines of the magnetic field
of the sun. This corona does not have the same shape over time, it depends of the activity of the sun, which follows a cycle.
A sun at maximal activity will have a more regular corona like in 1999 (see the

Image Full resolution

It is quite noticeable to see that theoretical simulation were correctly predicting the shape of the corona - see the simulation image
computed the 13th of march 2006 by a team from San Diego under the direction of Zoran Mikic (© Zoran Mikic)

We can also compare with the SOHO satellite images taken with the LASCO coronograph: image full disk 10:46 TU
And the earth coronograph from the Pic du Midi observatory: image 14:47:45 TU

image eclipse 99 ) and a much more irregular shape
with large streams in lower activity period (see Image eclipse 1998) or like today, a miminum phase, but still quite active

Inner corona, beginning of the totality

refractor Perl Halley 70/400mm with Nikon D70 - 200 ASA - images raw

With Iris

Addition of images with exposure duration of 1/250, 1/125, 1/60

With Photoshop

Composition with the technic of the fusion mask with gaussian filter, then radial filter (value 4) applied then mutliplied to the flattened image.

The magnetic lines are clearly visible, looping back to the sun surface, also several turbulences linked to the magnetic field structure close to the sun surface.

Image Full resolution

Different phase and exposure duration during the totality

Beginning of the totality (images are rotated -90°)

1/8000 1/8000
1/2000 1/1000
close to the totality end - 1/500 

End of the totality phase

The Nikon D70 does not react well to overexposition. Serious blooming affects the surrounding pixels.

Iner corona images, toward the end of the totality

Refractor Perl Halley 70/400mm with Nikon D70 - 200 ASA - images raw

With Iris

Radial filter with value 100 for the following three images 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000

With Photoshop

Composition with the technic of the fusion mask with gaussian filter, then radial filter (value 4) applied then mutliplied to the flattened image.

Streams and their structures close the solar disk are very impressive. We can also note the small "plumets" on the north and south poles, where the magnetic lines are opened to the space.

Image Full resolution

Partial phase

Refractor Perl Halley 70/400mm with Nikon D70 - 200 ASA - images raw - filter mylar baader photograpic density. 1/800

Sunpots are visible on the disk surface - entering phase

Coments on the operations

Continous movie during totalty: small workload, the sound recorded gives back a little bit of the impressive vision too. Manual exposure variation allows to voer the different part of the corona. It would have been interested to do that more slowly, but I had plenty of other things to do...

Ambiance movie: big mistake - the reference for the luminosity was taken way to early at the beginning of the partial phase. The camcorder was then left in manual exposure so during hte totality phase the imaages was completely dark... this was a big surprise compared to my previous eclipses (1998 and 1999)

Telescope images: the big risk was the vibrations with a so small mounting and a heavy digital camera attached to a small refractor, and not at the gravity center. Vibrations were probably correctly amortized with choice of a wood interface plate to attach the instruments to the equatorial mount. It allows me to take reasonable sharp images even at exposures of 1/60s and below. See below the table of the exposure taken with time and exposure duration. 23 images have been taken. Biggest probel encountered: night was so dark that I could not read the exposure on the LC screen when changing time, I had to light on the screen manipulating several camera buttons. The fun part is that my hand light was ready and close to me on the photo bag, but that's eclipse time... Next time I will proably work on an automatic script to take the exposures, because it will give me more time to look at the sun instead at the digital camera...

12:54:18 1/8000 Diamond suraturation 12:55:33 1/4000 courona 12:57:15 1/20 I should have continue to increase the exposure duration, but almost approaching the end and I had to take the large field images...
12:54:28 1/8000 saturation 12:55:59 1/2000 courona 12:57:21 1/90 corona
12:54:33 1/8000 saturation 12:56:05 1/1000 courona 12:57:27 1/250 corona
12:54:37 1/8000 saturation 12:56:12 1/500 courona 12:57:33 1/500 corona
12:54:40 1/8000 saturation 12:56:18 1/250 courona 12:57:38 1/1000 Bright spot apparition
12:54:42 1/8000 saturation 12:56:27 1/125 courona 12:58:38 1/1000 Very close to the end of the totality: I shall have continued to decreased the exposure time to 1/8000 to better capture the final diamond and the protuberences
12:54:46 1/8000 saturation 12:56:34 1/60 courona 12:58:46 1/1000 Diamond, corona and protuberences
12:54:48 1/8000 Diamond and protuberences apparition 12:56:42 1/30 courona 12:58:49 1/1000 Diamond
12:54:50 1/8000 Diamond and protuberences apparition 12:56:51 1/15 courona 12:59:02 1/1000 Diamond
12:54:51 1/8000 Protuberences 12:56:57 1/8 courona 12:59:15 1/1000 Saturation
12:54:16 1/8000 Chromosphere 12:57:05 1/4 The longest exsposure but not long enough to see the stars around and the moon surface. 

Large field images: taken during the second-half of the totality phase, framing view was prepared during the partial phase few minutes before the totality. The sun height was about 54° and a specific focal reducer add-on was required to get the ground and the sun. The image quality was not too bad. Only the Venus planet was visible, not Mercure.

Partial phase images: After all, this is not the most interesting part... the images were taken every 5 minutes and this was largely enought. I decided to take also video shots, which is in fact redondant. I had an intervallometer on the camcorder but decided not to use it to protect the battery duration. 

Ton pursue the discovery of this eclipse, some very interesting links

A little bit of science with Alain Klotz, participant of our expedition - Eclipse Turquie et Spectroscopie

Exceptional image and polarisation study of the corona with Christian Buil - Eclipse Turquie du 29 Mars 2006

The notes from a french scientific group in Egypt, from IAP, led by Serge Kouchmy assisted with few amateurs - Egypte 2006


the totality video was performed with a sony DCR-HC90E. The one of ambiant light with a Sony DCR-TRV7E


An eclipse in a foreign country is always the opportunity to discover a little bit of the History. Turquey is a great and rich country for this.

Roman theater at Side Apollo temple at Side
Roman theater of Aspendos Aspendos roman theater, the best preserved from the minor Asia
Istamboul - Holly sophie museum Istamboul - Blue mosquee
Interior of holly Sophie Interior of Blue mosquee
The team "pixel and cassoulet" The bosphore detroit
Topkapi palace, the Ottoman sultans palace Kybele Hotel, one minute by feet of the Holly-Sophie and Blue Mosquee