Thursday, January 19, 2006

Solar Eclipse in the Libyan Sahara - March/April 2006

On March 29, 2006 there will be a total Solar Eclipse. The track for this eclipse starts on the coast of Brazil, goes across the Atlantic Ocean and over northern Africa and central Asia, where it will end at sunset in northern Mongolia.

I decided to join an Eclipse Expedition to Libya being hosted by The Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society. We will be observing the eclipse from deep in the Sahara Desert. As it turns out, the chosen location is optimum: offering over a 90% chance of a cloud-free day, and it is also very near to the maximum duration for totality - 4 minutes and 3 seconds.

We will spend a week in Libya, so there will be time to see Sabrata and Leptis Magna, the largest intact Roman ruins to be found anywhere, as well as other sights. The itinerary also includes a week in Italy, where we will see both astronomical and the regular sights in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. I have also added an extra week to this trip by arranging to stop off in Athens, Greece so I can just kick back and relax…and see a few of the sights in Athens as time permits. Believe it or not, this will be my first trip to Europe, so I'm really looking forward to that portion of the itinerary.

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