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July 1999


Excitement builds for the eclipse that will be visible in August

The media hype is considerable— “Last Eclipse of the Millennium,” “Munich Expects Four Million Visitors,” and some less science-based websites equipped with counters which predict the world’s end are signs of growing eclipse fever. Opticians and mail order companies are peddling trendy solar-viewing eyewear. A flotilla of cruise ships offer enthusiasts a deckside view of the phenomenon. On August 11, a total solar eclipse will be visible in Munich, the last such occurence until 2151. Other European cities from Plymouth to Bucharest which lie within a 270-kilometer-wide band which will be submerged in complete darkness for up to two minutes, seventeen seconds. Solar eclipses occur at the New Moon, when the moon slips between the earth and sun. While partial eclipses occur every 18 months, a total eclipse takes place, on average, only once in several hundred years. On the historic day in August, the Deutsches Museum will host special viewing hours in their courtyard, complete with protective specs and telescopes which can “see” through cloud cover. For more information, visit their website at will provide live webcam shots of the event as it happens in England. The Gasteig will present a lecture on eclipses (in German) with astronomer Rudolph Kippenhahn on July 11. While some weather forecasters have already made predictions for the day of the “black sun,” most agree that it is most sensible to choose your best viewing location based on weathermen’s advice closer to the date.

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