Total Solar Eclipse on March 9, 1997

The Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Irkutsk, Russia) invites solar physicists and astronomy amateurs to observe the total solar eclipse under the good viewing conditions of early Siberian spring.

All required information about the eclipse (as an astronomical phenomenon) and the data to arrange any observation program, is published in Fred Espenak and Jay Anderson, Total Solar Eclipse of 1997 March 9, NASA, Reference Publication 1369, 1995

Information about the anticipated viewing conditions is published in:

V.M.Grigoryev, Sh.P.Darchiya, P.G.Kovadlo, O.A.Ozhogina, "Climatic Criteria to Selection Sites for the Observation of the Total Solar Eclipse of March 9, 1997," Solar Physics, 1996

The path of totality on 1997 March 9 will pass through the territories of five regions of the Russian Federation (Yakut Republic, Khabarovsk Territory, Amur and Chita Region, and Buryat Republic). The eclipse will also be observed in a small section of the northwestern part of China and Mongolia.

Here is the detailed map, 69K.

Since the period of totality for a solar eclipse is only a few minutes, successful carrying out of observations requires knowing the weather conditions precisely at the time of the eclipse. According to generally accepted estimates, currently in Siberia 80-85% of predictions are made only 24 hours in advance. This means that the predicted probability of carrying out of solar observations at the time of the eclipse will be known to us only 24 hours in advance. This greatly constrains the time available for preparatory work, expecially since the experiments for some problems require more time than this just for the installation of equipment. Consequently, the decision as to where the observations should be done must be made ahead of time. For this reason, it is advisable to contact the Irkutsk group - people who analyze meteorological data from many years, estimate the best observing sites, and deal with remote-sensing satellite data of the totality region.

Investigation has shown that the best viewing conditions for the observations will be in the Chita Region, between latitudes 52-53° and longitudes 116-119°.

While certain weather conditions are crucial for carrying out observations, the general climate and comfort conditions at the site are important for successful advance preparation. Despite the fact that March is the first spring month, the first ten days of the month do not differ much from winter in East Siberia. The approach of spring is expressed by the incipient decay of the Siberian anticyclone, which causes some weather instability (weakening of frosts and increase in cloudiness). Based on comfort criteria, i.e., appropriate temperature and wind speeds, the best sites were selected. They are all in the Chita Region, not far from the Trans-Siberian Railway. The latitude range is 49-52° and the longitude range is 112-114°.

Satellite images of the area that includes the path of totality, obtained on 1996 March 5-11 (about one year before the eclipse), showed predominantly clear sky in the Chita Region. Hopefully the same will be true this year, allowing for successful observations.

The Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics will be the scientific advising body, while the Joint Stock Company "Irkutsk- Baikal-Intourist" will be responsible for solving any accomodation and transportation problems that foreign observers may experience.

The addresses are:

    Dr. V.M.Grigoryev
    Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics
    Siberian Division of the
    Russian Academy of Sciences
    Irkutsk-33 P.O.Box 4026
    664033 Russian Federation

    JSC "Irkutsk-Baikal-Intourist"
    44, Gagarin Blvd., Irkutsk,            Av.Mir, Moscow, RUSSIA
    664055 Russian Federation              Hotel COSMOS, offices 422,423
    Tel:(3952)290-270, 290-269             Tel: (095) 217-0422, 217-0423
    Telex: 231716 TURNE RU                 Fax (095) 215-9580
    Fax (3952) 277-872, 290-314

                                           9705, Sand Point Way, NE,
                                           Seattle,WA 98115, USA
                                           Tel: (206) 522-5995
                                           Fax: (206) 522-6295

Responsible NASA official: Joseph B. Gurman, Facility Scientist, Solar Data Analysis Center
+1 301 286-4767

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Solar Physics Branch / Code 682
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Last revised Thursday, November 14, 1996