The Travel Notes Total Solar Eclipse Report from Lake Balaton (Hungary) on August 11th, 1999.

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Eclipse 99:
On Wednesday, August 11th 1999, a total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor which traversed the Eastern Hemisphere.

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Where the total solar eclipse travelled on August 11th, 1999.

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From Lake Balaton -- August 11th, 1999

Total Solar Eclipse Report from Lake Balaton (Hungary) on Wednesday, August 11th, 1999.

Lake Balaton lies wholly within the path of totality, where the central duration lasts for 2 minutes 22 seconds -- 1 second shy of the maximum in neighbouring Romania.

Build Up:
The sun seemed to be eclipsed much of the week before scheduled totality, although mostly in the afternoons. This daily cloud build-up culminated in a massive thunderstorm on Saturday night.

The storm certainly cleared the air although Sunday remained somewhat hazy. Monday had excellent conditions around the lake, and Tuesday started hazy with temperatures rising above 30 C in the afternoon.

There were heavy traffic jams out of Budapest on Tuesday night heading for the Balaton and Puszta regions, although Szombathely seemed calm.

Eclipse Wednesday:
Shortly after five o'clock in the morning, we awoke to the sound of rain. A miserable feeling.

The constant drizzle was still present at six thirty, and seemed set for the day.

Our contacts in Stuttgart reported little better in southern Germany.

A slow glass of fresh juice later, and the sky started to brighten in the west. The cock crows and the birds start to sing, it's 7:20am.

8:30am CET
The birds seem happy, they're chattering on the telephone line and the roads are drying up. There's now plenty of blue in the sky, but the clouds are close at hand. With more than four hours to contact, anything could happen.

Word from Stuttgart is that it's still damp.

11:20am CET
It's getting crowded around the lake: we definitely have bikini weather, and telescopes are set up alongside fishing rods.

The sky is not completely cloudless, but umbrellas are only being used to shade the patient souls in the fields from the sun. There is a slight breeze, and back at base the birds are still singing.

11:50am CET
We're coming up to touchdown in the UK.

Images over the Met. Office's Camborne weather station in Cornwall (50 13 N, 05 19 W) show a damp and cloudy scene.

11:58am CET
The suncream is coming out around the Balaton, people are trying on their eclipse glasses, but we're still an hour away from totality.

12:05 CET
The cloud cover has thickened at Balaton, but they're relatively thin and look as though they'll move. Nobody's coming out of the water just yet.

12:13 CET
The sun is burning up the cloud blanket, and when this passes it looks clear to the west. Meteorologists are as excited as we are, and they can predict nothing for 40 minutes from now from Szombathely to Szeged.

Fingers crossed folks.

12:26 CET
On the Balaton, the sun looks like a half moon through the eclipse glasses at present, superb -- you really need these glasses to see the moon move across the sun; it's highly dangerous without them, you'll not see the effect and maybe never see again (to put it simply).

12:31 CET
The birds are still singing.

12:33 CET
We've just heard that Stuttgart is in darkness.

12:37 CET
It's dark in Koln, but raining.

12:38 CET
It's getting darker here in Hungary and there's still thin cloud over the sun.

12:39 CET
The birds are getting tired, the cock has crowed and the chickens have gathered together.

12:42 CET
The butterflies have settled down in the grass.

12:45 CET
We still have slight cloud but watching the natural world wind down and two young puppies totally confused at the feeling around them makes your skin tingle.


12:53 CET
Totatality was way too short for us, the total silence. The birds were asleep on the telephone wire, and now the cockeral sounds his wake up call again.

Magnificent. And the clouds broke for a shimmering corona and night star to its left -- a planet to astronomers.

Somehow I expected it to be darker. Stunning midday silence all the same.

12:57 CET
The birds are flying again.

13:00 CET
No clouds at all, to the naked eye (don't stare at the sun please) you wouldn't know that the moon was still covering the sun apart from the slight cooling of temperature.

13:15 CET
The birds are now behaving like they did when we started this report at 8:30 this morning.

13:21 CET
The butterflies are fluttering again.

13:45 CET
The rock concerts are starting up where all the people are gathered, but I prefer the sound of nature's symphony.

13:50 CET
The chickens are moving around again and the puppies have come out to explore once more, with the growing warmth of the sun on their young backs. The moon is not quite away from the sun.

We hope that those of you who didn't get the chance to be in the path of totality during this eclipse, managed to get some sort of feeling from our updates.

Thanks for letting us share this with you.

For more about the eclipse, follow the links in our left hand sidebar. And please come back to Travel Notes from time to time to see what else we're up.

Travel To A Solar Eclipse:
Where to find future solar ecliupses around the world.

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