Total eclipse seen in Egypt

Posted April 10, 2006 – After witnessing the total eclipse in Egypt, and at risk of redundancy, let me say it again: You really must see a totality, even it it’s just once in your life. Forget the photos and TV shots. The actual event is astounding, with a blow-you-backward electricity that cannot be recorded.

More than half of our group were first-timers, mostly from America, Australia, and New Zealand. Many of them wept during totality and especially afterward. It’s that dramatic. Some were surprised that everything didn’t turn fully dark, even though I’d warned in an earlier lecture that totality isn’t really dark and so what?

The sun’s atmosphere or corona was unusually irregular and finely detailed, with angel-hair pasta-like threads of material zooming from the sun’s north and south poles. It was the finest corona in all my eclipses dating back to 1970. Five fuscia-colored prominences erupted like nuclear geysers from the sun’s edge. And the chromosphere, a deep-pink layer just above the solar surface, showed itsaelf with unusual clarity.

It’s best not to waste the precious few minutes with cameras or gadgets. You need no eye protection during totality, so the best thing is to look at it directly and its effects on the sky, and to spend maybe half the time with binoculars. That’s all you need.