Eclipse 98

1998 Feb 26

Sorry for such a late report but things get a bit complicated sometimes. After a seven hours drive we arrived to Paraguan‡ at La Voz de Venezuela, a radio station, on wednesday afternoon. Into my car were my partner Andrˇs Valencia, Roger Curry from NEFAS who was the inspiring soul of our trip during our many desperate moments and my son Arnaldo Jr. All of the women from the tour went to a cousin's house.

Telescopes were stationed and we started doing some images for the web-cast. At that moment we found out that the video camera we were supposed could not be used due to some signal problems. We decided to change cameras, two more of them at hand fortunatelly, but the solar filter had to be fitted with some carboard and masking tape. Near midnight some star watching and a brief sleep.

By six o'clock in the morning of the event the sky was clear, but on the eastern horizon were standing some not wanted clouds. By midmorning all of them vanished and all we had to do was to wait in anxiety.

First contact was like blowing a horn on a battle field, everyone started to run and cameras were clicking. We started the web-cast with a rate of one image per minute and that changed at between 18:09:18 and 18:13:02 UTC for the totality to one image every 15 seconds. We planned to have one every 5 seconds but were told that it generated problems with Win95. We were also told latter that CANTV's site got clogged with more than one million hits for 40 minutes at around totality.

It was really an experience that will not be forgoten, and as my wife says, we must go to Europe next year.

Some images from the web-cast are available at ARVAL's site plus some photographs taken at prime focus.

Thanks to all for your support messagges before the event. And a special thanks to you Roger, you are really something.

Arnaldo Arnal; 1998 Mar 6