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 Total Solar Eclipse of 2003 November 23-24
 Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

To observe the total solar eclipse on November 23-24, 2003, the first one to be witnessed in Antarctica in the history of mankind, I went first to Cape Town in South Africa to take a special Ilyushin IL-76TD flight to the russian station of Novolazarevskaya. The weather was perfect on eclipse day: the sky was blue and clear, the temperature in this beginning of the austral summer around -25°C (-13°F). However turbulences caused by the various atmospheric layers made the observations, at high magnification, difficult just over the ice-capped horizon.
It is worth to mention that, a few days before the eclipse, a huge storm with katabatic winds blowing at over 150 km/h (95 mph) swept accross the Dronning Maud Land area; moreover another storm came in the second day after the eclipse.
The two main focus of this eclipse were that it was just after the midnight Sun and in a truly magical surroundings. For the 2008 February 7 annular solar eclipse I will be back in Antarctica and try to view it from its high point, Mount Vinson at 4,897 m (16,067 ft).

You can use this solar eclipse calculator to compute the local circumstances of the eclipse. The time exposure calculator is there to help you choose your camera settings. With the windchill calculator you can estimate the real temperature.

Click on thumbnails for a larger version

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Eclipse 2003 Viewing Site
Three kilometers
from my eclipse viewing site

Eclipse 2005
Map of the next hybrid (annular/total)
eclipse on April 8, 2005

Ice Ilyushin
Sea of ice and Ilyushin IL-76TD tail

Ice Crystals
Packing of ice crystals on the ice sheet

Ice Sheet
Ice sheet texture

Weather Station
Weather station and radio shack

Novolazarevskaya Runway
Novolazarevskaya ice runway

Antonov Ilyushin
Antonov AN-2 and Ilyushin IL-76TD

Getting ready for the return flight
around the Ilyushin IL-76TD

Antarctic Ice Shelf
Edge of the Antarctic ice shelf


Cape Town Ilyushin
Ilyushin IL-76TD in Cape Town airport

Page 1 |  Page 2 |  Page 3 "Eclipse" |  This is page 4 |  Page "Google Map" |  Page "Elevation Profile"

Last page update on December 20, 2003.
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