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The Solar Eclipse 1999 in Karlsruhe
English language
Solar eclipse 1999

Due to the cloudy weather, the Solar Eclipse could only be observed at a few locations in Germany. In Karlsruhe, the heavy cloud cover lifted — as if by command — a few minutes before the second contact (the partial eclipse shortly before totality). Despite some cumulus clouds, the citizens of Karlsruhe and 500,000 visitors coming from other parts of Germany had a temporarily uninhibited view of this impressive display.

INET-TV® broadcasted the event with two RealMedia Servers in Karlsruhe and Munich live on the Internet. On this day 74,000 accesses by more than 5,000 vistors were counted; 2,000 viewers used the live feed switched on at 09:00 UTC to watch the heavenly event. A field team documented the reactions of the public during the total eclipse. The 89-year-old Oskar Sala from Berlin, who is one of the pioneers of electronic music, accompanied the event on his instrument "Mixturtrautonium" with a six-way-sound-system in front of the castle of Karlsruhe.

In front of the castle of Karlsruhe
These are some excerpts of the events happening in the space in front of the castle of Karlsruhe. Oskar Sala did a performance during the eclipse. Following are some still images from the video (click on the thumbnails for a more detailed view).
One day before the event.
One day before the event.
Day X: many people ...
Day X: many people ...
... enjoyed an exciting experience!
... enjoyed an exciting experience!
Front of the castle before ...
Front of the castle before ...
... during
... during
... and after the eclipse.
... and after the eclipse.
Totality phase
Tangerine Dream You see the most impressive moment of the Solar Eclipse, shortly after the cloud cover had lifted. The music in this clip is "Comet's Figure Head" from the album Mars Polaris by the legendary Tangerine Dream. Following are some still images from the video (click on the icons for a more detailed view).
2. contact
2. contact (12:31:35 CEDT)
Diamont ring left
Diamont ring left
Maximum of the totality phase
Maximum of the totality phase
Diamont ring right
Diamont ring right
3. contact
3. contact (12:33:50 CEDT)
Still images from the videos
The first clear snapshots were taken at about 11:18:00 CEDT, the last one was made at 12:58:00 CEDT.
The phases of the eclipse in Karlsruhe
At 11:12:10 CEDT began the partial pahse of the Solar Eclipse (1st contact). The moon moved slowly in front of the sun, while the cloud cover became increasingly dense, but dissolved at the decisive moment. At 12:31:35 CEDT the sun was completely covered by the lunar disk (2nd contact). The sun had an elevation of 54, 30 East of the meridian at this time. The totality phase ended at 12:33:50 CEDT (3rd contact). The moon slowly gave way to the sun again and the cloud cover closed over us again. The eclipse ended at 13:55:22 CEDT (4th contact), when the sun was 56 above the horizon and 10 West of the meridian. This could not be observed due to rainclouds covering the sky.
Frequently asked questions
What's needed to view the video-clips?
Downlaod RealPlayer You need either RealPlayer G2 or 7.0 for Macintosh and Windows or RealPlayer 5.0 for Unix systems. Donwload RealPlayer for free from the web site of Real Networks.
What are the bandwidth requirements?
All clips are encoded in 28,8 kbps-, 56 kbps- and 128 kbps format. The server automatically chooses the right format for modem-, ISDN- or xDSL-connections, depending on the settings in the "Connection" preferences menu of RealPlayer.
Why does the sun's crescent seem to be initially growing instead of shrinking?
Light-reflections caused by moving cumulus clouds and inhomogenities of the air create this apparent effect.
Why are sun and moon sometimes shaking or jumping in the picture?
The tracking of both cameras and the exchange of optical filters with varying density had to happen in quick sequence even before the "critical" period, due to various clouds moving through the picture. This activity has left its traces. Image-jumps occurred because of the switching between both cameras.
Was the song by Tangerine Dream composed for the event of the Solar Eclipse?
No. The album Mars Polaris is intended as a soundtrack to the NASA's Mars Polar Lander (TM) mission. MPL was launched on Jan, 3rd 1999 and is scheduled to enter the Martian orbit at Dec, 3rd 1999. We think it fits the Solar Eclipse as well!
3D simulation of an eclipse in VRML (german language)
simulation of an eclipse This VRML world demonstrates why eclipses happens. There is also a RealVideo clip showing a short journey through this model. CosmoPlayer To view the model, you need a VRML viewer such as the free CosmoPlayer from Cosmo Software.
The crew and other nice people
Stefan Stapelberg (1. livecam/director)
Heiner Frauenfeld (2. livecam/director)
Andreas Kessel (3. camera)
Hans-Joachim Knobloch (initiator)
Wilhelm Bühler (server admin Karlsruhe)
Achim Schmidt (server admin Munich)
Wolfgang "Wollo" Herfurth (organisation)
Tangerine Dream (soundtrack)
Xlink Internet Service GmbH, Karlsruhe (high-speed connectivity)
ISAR Netzwerke GmbH, Munich (splitter server)
Technologiepark Karlsruhe GmbH (organisation)
Life Technologies, Karlsruhe (balcony & catering 8-)
Real Networks GmbH, Hamburg (event license)
Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Heidelberg (briefing)
Landessternwarte Heidelberg (briefing)
Internet Laden Karlsruhe (press relations)
Ing.-Büro ELCOM, Herxheim (network setup)
More eclipse links
Verkehrsverein Karlsruhe: Totale Sonnenfinsternis 1999 (German language)
Themenseite von "Spektrum der Wissenschaft" (German language)
Bob Yen's fascinating photographs made in Turkey
Olivier "Klipsi" Staiger's web site with post-event information
Schwäbische Sternwarte e.V. (German language)
Universitätssternwarte Munich (German language)
Sterne und Weltraum (German language)
Bild der Wissenschaft Online (German language)
NASA Solar eclipse information
Fred Espenak's eclipse site

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