Solar eclipse 07-21-2001 in Zambia

The observer camp

Pictures on this page were taken during a three days trip in Zambia specially organized for the 06-21-2001 solar eclipse by Nouvelles Frontieres and Corsair companies.

The camp (14 50' 11"S 28 01' 11"E) is in the bush at Balla-Balla estates near the Chisamba town. It is located just in the middle of the path of totality, 50 km northward from Lusaka .

Observer camp

About 350 participants are standing in the camp, sheltered by tents. A barbed wire fence is surrounding the camp, protected by zambian security guards, very intrigated by our various equipments.

Observation conditions are excellent. The sky is perfectly clear. Some wind gusts force observers to shelter their equipments in order to prevent vibrations.

 Observer camp

Photographic equipment

My equipments placed in tne proximity of a bus acting as a wind screen, are composed as follows:

- a Meade ETX90 telescope with an EPSON PC3000Z digital camera standing in afocal mode behind a SP 40mm eyepiece.
- 15x80 binoculars with glass filters fixed on a tripod.
- a second EPSON PC600 digital camera intended for landscape photography.


Photographic equipment

The optical zoom of the digital camera is adjusted at x1.5. The eclipsed sun appears below on the monitoring screen of the digital camera, allowing manual sun tracking throug the ETX-90 keypad. The digital camera is powered by a 12AH lead-acid battery (a heavy weight in our luggage!).

Monitoring screen

The sun just before the eclipse starts

For a few days, the sun has been exhibiting huge spots, improving the eclipse background.

Sun before the eclipse

After the 1rst contact

The first contact occurs at 13H40 local time. The lunar disk is progressively swallowing all the sun spots.

After the 1rst contact

Changing shadows

The light of the eclipsed sun crossing tree leaves creates an amazing multitude of crescent shaped patterns.

Crescent patterns

Last moments before second contact

Observers are ready to remove sun filters from their instruments. Second contact occurs at 15H10 local time.

Just before the 2nd contact

The solar corona

A bright and thick corona appears after the second contact. Exposure time is 1/60 second. On the left side is a raw picture. The right picture has been transformed by a wavelet filter using IRIS software in order to enhance coronal ejections. Notice the curled patterns on the right side of the corona.

The corona Enhanced corona

A 3D view of the total eclipse

This 3D view is an anaglyph composed of two pictures captured 80 seconds apart during the totality.
Click and Try with your 3D glasses ....

Below is a detailed view of the upper side of the lunar limb showing the outline of the lunar relief in front of the bright corona.

Lunar mountains


Exposure time is set at 1/150 second. At least 6 main reddish prominences are distributed around the lunar limb.


This movie reveals prominences moving behind the lunar limb (640x573 GIF format176K)

This movie is composed of three pictures with a time lapse of about 40 seconds between consecutives pictures.


These two pictures below show the same landscape shortly before and shortly after the totality.
On the second picture, Jupiter is visible on the lower left side of the black sun. Amber color is stretching along the horizon.

Just before 2nds contact


Second diamond ring

A 1/200 second exposure is made after the beginning of the second diamond ring pattern. Excessive enlightment creates parasitic shimmering on the camera lenses though prominences are still visible.

2nd diamond ring

After the third contact

After 3 minutes and 30 seconds elapsed too briefly, the third contact occurs at 15H13 local time.

After 3rd contact

The last contact

The last contact occurs at 16H27 local time. At this moment, It is time for us to pack our luggage, step in the bus and drive to Lusaka airport.
9 hours later, we are back in Paris with wonderful memories of this extraordinary phenomenon.

Before the last contact

Comparison between diameters

Picture below is a numeric addition of one picture taken during the totality and one picture taken before the eclipse starts. This addition gives an idea of the relative difference between the sun diameter and the moon diameter at the eclipse time.

Comparison between diameters

full eclipse movie (640x573 GIF format 1607K)

This movie is made of about 60 pictures (average time lapse between consecutive picture is 3 minutes).

Satellite movie of the eclipse

Your suggestions are welcomed