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29 March 2006, a total solar eclipse occurs over the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey.

The full solar eclipse of 2006

Wednesday, 29th March 2006 will see a new total solar eclipse in a narrow band starting from Brazil, through Atlantic Ocean, Gold Coast of Africa, Saharan Desert, Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Black Sea, Georgia, Russian Federation, northern shores of Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan and ending in Mongolia - traversing half the Earth...

At the extreme part of the 2006 eclipse path of totality (near the sunrise and sunset), the duration of totality will be less than 2 minutes, but will be as long as 4 minutes and 7 seconds in Libya, at the moment of greatest eclipse. At this specific moment, the path of totality of the 2006 solar eclipse will be 180 kilometers wide.

Path of totality of the 2006 Total Solar Eclipse

Partial phases of the 2006 total solar eclipse will be observed by the whole of Europe. All Asia west of Yakutsk, Mongolia, central China and Myanmar, and north of the line joining Bombay and Calcutta will also see part of the Moon in front of the Sun.

Only the south-eastern parts of Africa will miss the partial eclipse in 2006.

Following eclipse maps and data are courtesy of Fred Espenak and Jay Anderson, NASA/TP-2004-212762 "Total Solar Eclipse of 2006 March 29". A very detailed and technical documentation can be downloaded here - Total Solar Eclipses of 2006 March 29 (Low Res - 5 MB).

Map of the 2006 Total Solar Eclipse over Africa

Weather predictions - 2006 Total Solar Eclipse

Weather predictions in Turkey - 2006 Solar Eclipse

The topography along the Gulf of Antalya in Turkey presents both opportunity and difficulty for the 2006 solar eclipse expeditions. The high mountains that frame the coast will dry air masses approaching from the west and north, while promoting additional cloudiness for those coming from the south as they ascend the terrain. The eclipse observer's best ally is the gentle slope of the coastal plain which has only a minor effect on cloud development. Antalya's southern location and the beneficial effects of the terrain make it one of the sunniest places in Turkey. The best measure of solar eclipse viewing chances, i.e., the percent of possible sunshine, is 60% at Antalya.

Map of the 2006 Total Solar Eclipse over Turkey

If no large-scale weather disturbance affects the area on the total solar eclipse day, and cloudiness is patchy, the coastal highway southeast from Antalya provides a convenient route to search for an area to view the Sun - though the narrow highway is likely to be crowded with traffic that affords only slow movement. With winds from the south, coastal areas will be sunnier than inland sites against the mountains. Northerly winds will reverse the pattern, with sites farther inland being favoured. If cloud cover is increasing from the west (ahead of an approaching disturbance), then an escape inland toward Konya is possible, though the route is tortuous and slow and cannot be done on short notice. 2006 eclipse travellers should watch weather patterns for a day or two ahead and make decisions about the most favourable sites before the solar eclipse day.

Beyond the Taurus Mountains, the 2006 total solar eclipse path moves across the broad interior plateau of central Turkey, where weather systems from Europe and the Black Sea have unimpeded access. In March, they arrive much modified by their transit over the Black Sea.

Cloudiness and precipitation increase steadily along the path from Antalya to Trabzon. Winter still has some grip, and with overnight lows falling below 0°C in northern Turkey, there is a modest possibility of snow as the path comes to the shores of the Black Sea.

At Sivas, climatology shows that more than 5 days in March report a snowfall, though a snowfall as late as the date of the solar eclipse would be unusual.

Past Ankara, the percent of possible sunshine statistic falls below 50% along the path and drops to a meagre 38% at Sivas. Mobility will be a major advantage for the 2006 eclipse watchers in northern regions, however, major roads tend to go across rather than along the path of totality and the rugged terrain will make rapid movement difficult.

The area surrounding the Black Sea - northern Turkey, Georgia, and the Caucasus Mountains - is the cloudiest along the path. The percent of possible sunshine varies from 32 - 38%, as does the probability of seeing the total solar eclipse of 2006.

Rain or snow falls at eclipse time on one day out of four or five and there is a very high frequency of fog at some stations, even at the late hour of the eclipse. Even temperatures are unkind, flirting with the freezing point at night and climbing only to 10 - 12°C in the afternoon.


Total Solar Eclipse of Wednesday, 29th March 2006 in Turley