The hottest ticket under the sun – the solar eclipse

A total eclipse of the sun will occur later this year and another in 2015. This is a not-to-be-missed experience that should be everyone’s “must do” list. The fact that there is intense interest in the eclipse experience already, means that the cruise lines are putting on extra ships, and tour operators are coming up with extremely interesting itineraries, for both the 2013 and 2015 eclipses. These are both filling extremely quickly. They are quite correctly claiming that these are “the hottest tickets under the sun”.

Solar eclipse

The next total eclipse of the sun will occur on the 3rd of November 2013 and will last for 1 minute and 39 seconds. The best vantage points are Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda. This will be a total eclipse, yet is called a hybrid eclipse which is extremely rare occurring in just 5% of all eclipses, hence its popularity.

Having experienced a total eclipse in Turkey in 2006, it is an indescribable experience. No amount of research can prepare you for this serious sensory overload.

Eclipse watching is a serious sport and has an enormous number of followers who never miss the big event. We were fortunate enough, or canny enough, to settle in near one of the NASA teams who were extremely helpful, as everyone was. Eclipse junkies are a nice bunch of people. They have seriously expensive cameras, telescopes and everything to capture the moment, and really want to share their passions with others.

The anticipation is huge. Then the moon starts to creep over the sun, and there is total excitement at the impending phenomena. Then it starts to get cool, darkens bit by bit, and then there is complete silence. The animals do stop all noises; it is a vacuum of silence. We were enveloped in blackness, silence and cold – but a cold that I have never felt before. This was indescribable, in a very surrealistic way.

The best vantage points to see the eclipse in 2013 is over Africa. AstroTrails is offering a ‘total eclipse of the sun’ package to Africa and a safari in Uganda, with side trips should you choose, to the Serengeti or Mt Kilimanjaro. Guest astronomy expert, Nick James, will assist you to understand what is happening.

Travel Quest is offering a tour, led by Michael Girardin and takes in the culture of Ethiopia and surrounds.

Eclipse Tours offers a luxury cruise which will allow you to see the eclipse at sea. This cruise starts in the Canary Islands and concludes in Barbados. They have experts on board to speak about what is happening.

The interest in the 2015 eclipse is already enormous and the best vantage point will be near the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic (between Scotland and Iceland) and will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds, occurring on the 20th March. There is a good possibility that you might even see the Northern lights.

There are a large number of tour operators offering trips, but many of these are filling quickly, necessitating others to come on board to meet the demands. Joining a cruise will give a great vantage point.

A total eclipse of the sun is worth it. You don’t necessarily want to wait until 2026.

Comments (3)

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  1. Sonia King says:

    There is a typo error above. It says the 2015 solar eclipse is in May (20th) but it is actually in March.

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    Thank you, Sonia… that’s now been corrected. There was a solar eclipse on 20th May 2012 which might account for the confusion.

    Thanks again

    Paul

  3. Dan says:

    Your write up reminds me of what happened in my country on March 29, 2006 where we had a solar eclipse. What a spectacular sight it was! The day turned dark and hundred of school children did not really make it to school.

    They were out to behold the wonders of nature. As usual the tourists were there to take shots of the event. You could really feel the impact when you stood in a mountainous area but health experts cautioned us to use a special glasses to view as it was harmful to the naked eye.

    I think such spectacles hold much potential for any country’s tourism and it should be harnessed by all governments since it happens once in a blue moon!

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