The images of the 1995 October 24 total eclipse which appear on this page
are taken from a video made
by Martin Mobberley whilst he was on the ramparts of a fort at Fatehpur Sikri
(about 25 miles from Agra) in India. This was a few miles north of the eclipse
track and totality lasted for only 45 seconds.
The video was taken using a Panasonic
NVS80 S-VHS camcorder with a Jessops x5 teleconverter.
Click on the small images to download full-sized JPEG pictures. The full video is available from TA sales.
Martin Mobberley's account of his eclipse trip catches some of the atmosphere of the event:
On Eclipse morning we arose at around 5am and assembled in the hotel reception. We were heading for Fatehpur Sikri, an ancient deserted city some 25 miles to the WSW of Agra and the Taj Mahal and slightly north of the eclipse centre-line. The buses were due to depart at 5.30 am (0h UT) and arrive at the Eclipse site well before 1st contact (around 7.20 am). The 25 mile drive from Agra to the eclipse site at Fatephur Sikri went without a hitch and the roads were surprisingly clear considering we were heading for the centerline.
At 6.45 am (1.15 UT) we arrived at the deserted historical city gates. The Indian official told us it was 100 rupees to bring a video camera onto the site and 50 rupees for a still camera (£1 = 55 rupees). He also told us that tripods were not allowed!!! As there were hundreds of us and only one of him he was ignored!
Observers waiting expectantly for the eclipse.
The 310 Explorers Tours people followed Brian McGee and John Mason to our allotted place in the corner of an abandoned courtyard. With the bus ride over we looked around the sky and for the first time that morning were able to relax; we were on the track and the sky was crystal clear, without a cloud in sight! During the next hour I videoed the scene for the latest TA Eclipse video. John Mason was, as always, in excellent form in front of the camera. In addition, Richard McKim, Nick Hewitt and others described the scene. What looked disturbingly like a hotel bedsheet was strung up on a wall to capture any shadow band effects!
John Mason scarcely concealing his excitement!
02:12:00 UT. Partial phase.
With one-and a half minutes to go, a part of the cusp near the Moon's South limb became detached indicating the presence of a massive lunar peak somewhere in that region. Also, the right hand (roughly South) cusp seemed to shrink far quicker than the left hand cusp in the last few seconds before totality. As in Chile, I found that as soon as the crescent sliver started to shrink in length we were only 30 seconds from totality and the mylar filters could come off the C90 and video camera plus 5x converter.
03:03:54 UT. Thin crescent
As the time reached 3:04 UT, to whoops, cries and screams the last remnants of the Sun disappeared in a most dramatic fashion. In the last few seconds before totality events happened so quickly that only the video has enabled me to recall the precise events correctly. Analysis of the tape shows that once the last sliver of the crescent Sun disappeared two main areas of brightness remained; a rapidly shrinking bead of light at the 6 o'clock position and the 'diamond ring' at the 7.30 position.
03:04:03 UT.Second contact diamond ring.
As the diamond ring collapsed into at least 7 sparkling Bailly's Beads the corona glowed into view. The chromosphere was far brighter than in Chile, presumably due to the smaller size of the Moon, and the polar brushes, although obvious, were not as sharp as a year ago.
03:04:34 UT. Corona near to mid-eclipse.
A textbook solar minimum corona was now revealed with a long single Eastward streamer below the Sun and a slightly shorter Westward double horned streamer above the Sun. The Eastward streamer was some 1.5 degrees in length and the Westward streamer's longest (right-hand) horn slightly shorter. The left-hand horn of the Western streamer was less than a degree in length. As I studied the scene in 10 x 25 binoculars I was conscious that my automatic Canon T-70 Command Back (on the Celestron C90) was not operating. Fortunately I realised that I had left it in the wrong mode while checking the equipment the night before but a few button presses started the 1 second exposures going around mid-totality.
Ten seconds later the top edge of the Sun was already brightening, surely the eclipse was not ending already? But it was; another 10 seconds and the diamond ring was emerging at the 11 o'clock position with a fainter "bead" at the 1 o''clock position. As the diamond ring intensified a whole series of beads of light suddenley erupted from the 1 o'clock position to the 11 o''clock position and the intense red glow on the Moon's top edge soon became a brilliant white. The eclipse was over but it seemed even shorter than I had imagined, even allowing for the excitement.
03:04:50UT. Third contact, Bailly's beads.
The post-totality scene was one of mutual congratulation & reliving the experience. Richard McKim produced a very impressive drawing of the Eclipse by memorising the corona during totality and rapidly sketching it the instant the Eclipse ended. No doubt his years of drawing Mars from memory paid dividends at the Eclipse.
Drawing of the eclipse by Richard McKim.
Compared to Chile, the chromosphere tended to drown some of the finer coronal detail, which was less intricate to my eye. The polar brushes also appeared less sharp to me. On the plus side though, the total lack of cloud and the fact that we were slightly off the centre resulted in a crystal clear view of the Diamond Rings and Bailly's beads which were slow and graceful due to the glancing second and third contacts.
A crude wristwatch timing (probably accurate to a second or two) made totality last from 0304:06 - 0304:51 UT.
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