Astronomy On-Line

The EAAE Lunar Eclipse Project
September 16, 1997

Report with world-wide students and amateur contributions (Sept. 25, 1997)

This was a cloudy experience - the northern parts of Europe and some areas in the south were unfortunately clouded out! Look at this satellite cloud image, obtained about 2 hours after the eclipse by the ERS satellite.

As the Danish Cartoonist Storm Petersen wrote in 1935:
"Nobody knows the feelings of an astronomer during such cloudy, rainy nights!"

However, some schools still got positive results.

You will find the latest news about the results of the observations at this address:

Some early impressions

Among these, you may find the impressive eclipse + local noon report from participants in France, who by means of this EAAE project have found both their longitude, and latitude!

Bent Klarmark and his students from Nysted Youth Schools Stargazer section (Denmark) observed from their favourite place, the old East Lollandia Coastal fortress, an old relict from the Napoleonic wars. Have a look at their very comprehensive report. Here is a sample image from their collection:

According to their provisional report, they were able to observe both the beginning and the end of the eclipse, enabling them to arrive at a most precise determination of even the lunar distance. Their method is described at the end of our guidelines, see the introduction to the September 1997 eclipse.

Here is an image from the Live Eclipse Session by the Astronomy Class, Sonderborg, Denmark:

They suffered from a cloudy sky, but the end of the Umbra Zone was registered on several pictures. In Sonderborg, the sky cleared around the end of the eclipse. More pictures will soon published at their very comprehensive eclipse site. They will allow an accurate determination of the time of the end of the total phase of the eclipse.

Here are some of the links that were active during the event.

Caldwell Observatory, Australia.

Mira Public Observatory, Grimbergen, Belgium.

Saji Observatory, Japan.

Reunion Island (Indian Ocean).

A substantial number of young students in Europe and Australia were internet connected during this Lunar eclipse.

More Reports

Even if you were clouded out during the eclipse, do not hesitate making the solar height measurements/local noon experiment - you may still get valuable results.

Please do not hesitate sending in your reports, photos etc. - see the addresses below.

Here are few immediate reactions from participants:

In Western Sidney (Australia), our schoolfriends ( write:

Good morning All

It is now morning here and we will have breakfast shortly before starting school again. Unfortunately the clouds lasted all night and we did not see any of the eclipse!!

Glad to hear that Stockholm got results. We also received messages from Geneva and Rome about successful viewings. It is a pity that Denmark and Athens were like us.

Other people also contacted us; Melbourne Australia and Northern England, both of which were cloudy. One helpful anonymous person even suggested that we hire a plane to fly above the clouds! Pity they were not paying for it.

Bye for now, its back to work for us. Thanks for the collaboration and messages

Rob Hollow and students

And here is a message from Queensland (Australia) which had a nice sky ( They write:

Hi guys. Isn't this just the most fantastic thing you've seen? It's 5am (Eastern Standard Time - Australia) and we're sitting on our front stairs. All we can see is just a faint outline which is a bit brighter in the north western area of the moon.

We are in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and the sky is fairly clear. There is just a bit of thin cloud drifting in and out of the picture. We envy you guys with your telescopes, seeing it through them must be amazing. I wish we could take photographs of the whole process, but I guess we'll have to wait and get them off the net.

Good luck with your viewing - learn a lot - and treasure this sight as one of life's great experiences.

Your fellow moon-watchers,

Lesley Hansen and Kimberley Hansen

From Canberra Lunar Observatory, Byron Soulsby has provided several impressive images and animations - take a look at his homepage - for an animation.

From Stockholm (Sweden):

Dear All!

It is cloudy in Stockholm too but we were lucky to see the moon enter totality and measured the time for that to at 20:16:00 Central European Summer Time (18:16:00 UT)!

Best regards from

Saltsjöbadens Samskola

Bengt Ask (Sweden), is an experienced astrophotographer, his comet images have been seen by people worldwide. He suffered from the incoming clouds too, but was able to capture quite a lot of interesting photographs. Here is one of them:

This photo is a colour photo, captured at approx 19:25 - i.e. at nearly the same time as the one shown above. Bengt applies the new SG800 Plus film, described in e.g. the recent EAAE Comet Hale Bopp Project.

Thanks to Bengt for his support and continued cooperation with our student projects!

Unfortunately, there was rain in Athens ( They sent this message:

Dear all,

unfortunately this time athens is cloudy and rainy so we simply can't observe the eclipse. We are actually going to check the address of Mogens (in Denmark).


Students of ARSAKEIO!

In Slovenia, the Gimnazija Nova Gorica High School have made both photos and comprehensive local noon measurements.

The students and their teacher Miran Tratnik ( were active already during the 1996 solar eclipse. They will put the photos on the homepage of their school.

Here is their comprehensive report!

This message came from in Switzerland:


Sitting in my office in Geneva Switzerland. The moon has appeared a few minutes ago and is moving quite fast. Just a small part is visible. The weather is perfect and the redisch color of the eclipse is easy to recognise.

From Austria, Gerhard Rath ( and his students write :

Hello !

My students (16 years old, beginners in Astronomy) tried to determine the time of the end of totality (without telescope) and the time of the local noon. We had a wonderful sky!

Our data: End of Totality: 21:17 (daylight saving time); Local Noon: 12:52; i.e. difference to Greenwich: 1 h 4 min. This means a longitude of 16 degrees east. The map tells us: Graz 15 Deg 30'. So we were about 2 minutes too late.

We are interested to subscribe the mailing list. To begin with, please use my e-mail, but soon the students will get an own address. Thanks for Your activities,

Gerhard Rath

Here are the results from their Astronomy group in Puolalanmaki School Turku, Finland:

1) the accurate time when the totality ends: 22h 17 min 30 s

2) the accurate time for local noon: 13h 26 min

3) geographical position: 22 degrees 15' East and 60 degrees 28' North

4)the height of the Polar Star: 60 degrees

Here, the time-difference between end of the eclipse, and local noon is 22h 17m 30s minus 13h 26m = 8h 41m 30s

Explanation - In Greenwich, Local Noon was at 11h 55m local noon ('local noon' is when the Sun is seen in the direction of South).

The total eclipse ended at 19h 16m Local time - this is 7 hour 21 minutes after UK Local Noon.

So, Finland is `delayed' with 8h 41m 30s minus 7h 21m = 1h 20m 30s - compared to UK-Greenwich.

Our Globe rotates 360 Deg in 24 hours, which equals 15 Deg pr hour - so these 1 h 20 m 30 s correspond to approx 20 Deg East ! - in nice agreement with the actual values.

Next to come

Coming Next Week - Animations, more images, and - most important, additional daytime measurements of the solar height and local noon. For details, see the explanatory file about

Local Noon.


Solar Height.

You may send an email to the students in Australia and Europe (YOUNGSTERS AGE 15-18)!

More links of possible interest

Sky and Telescope News Bulletin

Sky and Telescope Informations on this particular eclipse

Back to the Lunar Eclipse Sept 1997 ESO EAAE Astronomy On-Line Main Page

Geocities' site (Worachate Boonplod)

Mathematics of Eclipses, Student Projects on the Oct 1996 Solar eclipse.

October 1996 - Students and amateurs across Europe measure the Lunar Distance within 5%

Article on the historical importance of Eclipses

Observing Groups, who want to join and deliver reports, are welcome to send an email to the author/editor of this page.

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