Technical Data


Total solar eclipse of 1999 August 11 Last Eclipse of the Millennium Adapted from NASA RP 1398
Total Solar Eclipse of 1999 August 11

The last total solar eclipse of the 20th century begins in the North Atlantic about 300 kilometers south of Nova Scotia where the Moon's umbral shadow first touches the Sun.

Not since 1961 has the Moon cast its dark shadow upon central Europe.

The instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 11:03:04 UT when the axis of the Moon's shadow passes closest to the center of Earth (gamma2 =0.506). At that moment, the shadow's epicenter is located among the rolling hills of south-central Romania very near Ramnicu-V”lcea. The length of totality reaches its maximum duration of 2 minutes 23 seconds, the Sun's altitude is 59ˇ, the path width is 112 kilometers and the umbra's velocity is 0.680 km/s. Four minutes later (11:07 UT), Romania's capital city Bucuresti (Bucharest) is engulfed by the shadow. Since Bucharest lies on the center line near the instant of greatest eclipse, it enjoys a duration nearly as long at 2 minutes 22 seconds. Traveling south-southeast, the path encompasses the Romania-Bulgaria border before leaving land and heading out across the Black Sea Earth at 09:30:57 UT.

THE GREATEST POINT of the last total solar eclipse of the millennium - August 11 1999 ROMANIA - OCNELE MARI LACUL DOAMNEI (The Lady's lake) on PISCUL DOAMNEI (The lady's peak) location 45 degrees 4.5 minutes North 24 degrees 18.0 minutes East'

The umbra arrives in India, the last nation in its path, at 12:28 UT. Over the course of 3 hours and 7 minutes, the Moon's umbra travels along a path approximately 14000 kilometers long and covering 0.2% of Earth's surface area.

What Will The 1999 Solar Eclipse Look Like?

* Times listed are in Universal Time. To convert to local time ** Mag. = Eclipse Magnitude or fraction of Sun's diameter eclipsed by the Moon. ** Alt. = Altitude of Sun and Maximum Eclipse.

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Duration Duration

Eclipse U.T. of Partial Total

City Name
Tirane, Albania P 10:58:21 0.877 64ˇ 02h52m  
Vienna, Austria P 10:46:28 0.990 57ˇ 02h45m  
Praha, Czech Republic P 10:42:24 0.952 55ˇ 02h42m  
Budapest, Hungary P 10:51:42 0.991 58ˇ 02h46m  
Brasov, Romania P 11:04:46 0.988 58ˇ 02h46m  
Bucharest, Romania T 11:06:59 1.029 59ˇ 02h47m 02m22s
Cluj-Napoca, Romania P 11:00:07 0.976 58ˇ 02h45m  
Constanta, Romania P 11:11:44 0.998 58ˇ 02h46m  
Craiova, Romania P 11:02:59 0.990 60ˇ 02h49m  
Galati, Romania P 11:09:10 0.973 58ˇ 02h45m  
Ploiesti, Romania T 11:06:17 1.028 59ˇ 02h47m 01m26s
Timisoara, Romania T 10:56:53 1.029 59ˇ 02h48m 02m02s
Kiev, Ukraine P 11:07:10 0.832 53ˇ 02h36m  
Athens, Greece P 11:10:14 0.822 66ˇ 02h53m  

The meteor shower The Perseids:

These are "shooting Stars" which occur over several weeks in summer with the peak activity on August 12, one day after the eclipse in 1999. At the Greatest Point (Romania) the best views are by midnight August 12/13 The origin is from comet Swift-Tuttle which returns every 143 years or so, was back a few years ago (1992-93) and gave fantastic meteor rain (but no storm) in summer 1993. The yearly Perseid meteor shower is one of the best of the year, each year, with up to one hundred meteors per hour under ideal observing conditions. A very good meteor and comet website with detailed information is from Gary Kronk (Tks to Oliver Staiger info).

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Weather probability: eclipse's visibility As the track leaves Austria, it also draws away from the influence of westerly winds which have controlled the meteorology up to this point. In summer, the Danubian plains over southern Hungary are affected more by the Mediterranean climate advancing northward from the adriatic Sea than from the march of Atlantic disturbances. The pronounced effect on cloud cover and the amount of sunshine leaves little doubt that the best Eiropean eclipse conditions will be found in Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. For the most part, the path follows the lowlands along the Danube River and is protected from stronger weather systems by the Carpathian Mountains in the north and the Balkan Mountains in the south. Prevailing winds blow lightly from the north or northwest, being drawn into a large low pressure system which forms over Iran in the summer. These etesian winds bring dry invigorating air which is constant in direction and speed. Precipitation is mostly in the form of showers and thundershowers, and tends to be greatest where the winds blow upslope Đ generally on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains. The amount of sunshine climbs above ten hours per day, more than 70% of the maximum possible. The number of days with scattered cloud or less at eclipse time rises from about half the month near the Austrian border to nearly two-thirds over Bulgaria. The probability of seeing the eclipse reaches 63% at the Black Sea ports of Varna and Constanta, popular summer destinations with beaches and fine Roman ruins to attract visitors and eclipse-seekers. Just after its point of maximum eclipse, the Moon's shadow crosses Bucharest, the capital of Romania. This city of two million promises to be a prime eclipse-viewing site, in part because of the comfort and ease of access, and partly because of the excellent weather prospects and the long eclipse duration. Since the center line neatly bisects the city, eclipse-viewing can be done from the wide boulevards or one of the many city parks. More about:

Romanian astronomers have established the International Association ECLIPSA'99 for the purpose of assisting both the scientific community and the general public. In addition to carrying out a series of scientific eclipse observations, ECLIPSA'99 will also play an important role in public education so that everyone can enjoy this extraordinary astronomical event. We plan to set up a new telescope outside the Capital, to complete the observation and data bases of the three observatories of the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, as well as to built a great Planetarium at Bucharest Observatory, in the immediate vicinity of the Park "Charles the 1st". Through a system of scholarships and awards, ECLIPSA'99 aims to specially train the staff necessary in the eclipse observation. Naturally, we will not leave out the amateur astronomers in view of the important contribution they have brought to the development of astronomy. Throughout the preparations, ECLIPSA'99 will carry out an ample program of national and international conferences and symposia, the publication of specialized and advertising materials, as well as of its own journal "Eclipsa"; it will also conduct an ample publicity campaign both at home and abroad.

Safe observation: eyes protection The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99% of the Sun's surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining photospheric crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness! More about this on

For the time being we have no information as Romanian ventures are preparing special personal equipments in this field. We know only that some are preparing for. More info as soon as available

LAST MINUTE: a valuable project has chosen Romania to achieve the 1999 total solar eclipse on 11/08/1999. It is available at

Safe photo and recording: Total solar eclipses, so beautiful to the eye and long captured on photographic film, are now being recorded on video. Our collective experiences from videotaping the partial phases, diamond rings, and corona at the 1990 and earlier eclipses suggests a number of ideas and observations that others may find useful. So More about this on and

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