Copyright 1999 Bob Yen / All Rights Reserved

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flower @Bagdere, morning of E-day (note spider)
(NOTE: it reminds me of the symmetrical pearly-white corona)

moonrise over Harput, 2 days before E-day

sunrise over Harput, 2 days before E-day

sunset (crepescular rays) @Bagdere, before E-day

moonrise over Elazig mosque

canyon near Buzluk ice-caves

turtle in irrigation canal, near eclipse-site

transfer to mini-bus in Dyarbakir

telescope & panorama platforms

wide-angle & multiple-exposure platforms

line of clouds towards SW

big cumulus during partial phase

"bed" for sleeping under stars

one of many groups of visitors @Bagdere

transportation via Landrover

one of many food "drops" by Landrover

engraving in Harput mosque

Pertek Castle (possible eclipse site)

20th century VS traditional transportation

man & wife drying apples

Dr. Livingston (U of A/Tucson) & Dr. Ozguc @Harput

shopowner at Harput

Bosphorous Univ group

Slovakia group: 3 meter heliostat

Dr. ? (Masei Univ) testing equipment

satellite-phone uplink (

group from Kyoto University

C14 + ccd-camera on Takahashi mount

I went to Harput ~4pm on the 7th, upon arriving to Elazig (18 hour bus-trip from Istanbul). Over the next 3 days, I met the scientific groups at the Harput Observation Site. It was interesting to see the equipment they were using, & learn about their scientific program. My stay was highlighted by the wonderful teenage-guides from Elazig. They answered my questions, gave me a tour of Harput & Pertek Castle. On the afternoon of the 8th, they gathered a group of scientists & myself, for a tour of the Buzluk Ice Caves. Amazing! It was incredibly cold inside (vs the 90 deg + temp outside), with some pretty steep climbs over rocks.

Tunahan Tanyildizi, Ozlam Ozbay, Seda Emir, Fatma, Kubra, Kerem Ceylan, Erkan Mutlu, et al..

Ozlam & Seda at Balakgazi Park (Harput)


Fatma & Kubra at Harput Observation Site

group going to Pertek Castle

We went to Harput Park, & was introduced to the governor of Elazig. Met a couple girls, & they eagerly joined us. They bought me some sugar candy (see shopkeeper image above), gave me some peanuts (BEST I've ever tasted!), bought me popsicles (BEST I've ever tasted!). We had a great evening view of the hills from the Park, & nibbled on sunflower seeds. Just as we left, we ran into a performing group of Ottomans. We stayed & watched the ceremony, which was an interesting lesson in history.

I had scouted a site on a ridge in Harput Castle, & was actually thinking of Pertek Castle (in the middle of a lake). However, the weather 2 days before E-day on the 9th was partly-cloudy in the afternoon, with the sun blocked precisely @2:36pm (exactly 48 hours before eclipse) !? It was absolutely clear in the morning, however. I consulted with Dr. Ozguc, who told me of the partly-cloudy forecast for the next 2 days. I couldn't take the risk, & decided that Bagdere (on the eclipse center-line) was the place to be (the backup site for the scientists). This was a more sensitive area (dangerous), with a lot of military checkpoints along the way. I packed up my cases & left Harput late afternoon, just as a large group of Westerners arrived (more scientists). I left for Dyarbakir early next morning, catching a 7 am mini-bus. Then, in Dyarkbakir, purely "winging it", I was dropped off at a mini-bus depot going to Hazro (north of Bagdere). We went 60km east along very flat country, & unloaded at Bagdere. I found myself amidst alot of activity: soldiers, governor, vendors, photographers, other eclipse chasers on buses. Tents & concrete bases (for the Japanese amateurs) had been erected. Click HERE for report/photos from Japanese "Skywatcher" group.

The local governor told me of no security problems in the week he had been there. I scouted a site with Belgian group (including the brother of Patrick Poitevin), who had come in 15 min later. A policeman in a Landrover (armed w/AK47) transported myself & equipment to the site at noon. I had enough time to setup a very important camera (50mm multiple-exposure shot), doing alignments at ~1:10pm & 2:40pm. I had numerous visits from many groups until that evening. Some local-boys warned me about spotting a 2 meter long snake about 5" thick, just down the hill. The only animal-life I saw were the grazing cows & the huge red ants (with abdomens pointed up at an angle). The LandRover made periodic food/drink drops, which was well appreciated! Ice cold water, very cold Pepsi, grated cheese, Pita bread, & cheese-like pies. (I only brought 2 1-liter bottles of water from Elazig, & didn't have time to get supplies at Dyarbakir. There were no stores at Bagdere). There was even a bottle of milky-colored drink (alcholic beverage), which I had to turn down. One of the Belgians had jokinly told me about sampling some.

I slept under the stars the night before (literally), watching the Perseids & taking all-sky photos. I saw a bright meteor near the radiant, which had the characteristic yellowish hue & slow angular speed (due to foreshortening). I awoke at 12am (it was my birthday) & was greeted with a bright meteor near the Northern Cross. I can hear mosquitoes buzzing, just as they are about to pounce. Before dawn, I hear some rustling nearby. It sounded like mice, but upon retrospect.. could it have been that snake?

On E-day, I was up at the break of dawn. I see a bat flying skittishly over my telescopes. I was glad to see the skies were clear. I spend the early morning ("golden hour"), roaming the area around my site & taking photos & videos. I went down the hill, & found an irrigation canal. I detect movement & see air-bubbles: it was teeming with turtles. I found a lone blossoming white flower, being pollinated by a white spider. In retrospect, I find this to be eerily coincidental with the pearly white-corona I was about to witness in a few hours.

However, as the day went on scattered clouds began to develop. The Belgians arrived in the morning, & a few of them paid a visit. They commented on how unusual it was to see a guy out in the distance by himself. They were nice enough to bring me water. I was surprised to hear loud music from the village, where there were many vendors. It was Western Rock & Roll, "We will, We will, ROCK YOU!!". (Up to this point, all I've heard was Turkish Pop Music on buses & taxis, & the Muslim religious serenades at sunrise & sunset! Incidentally, which I thoroughly enjoyed). I even saw 2 fighter jets roar overhead, I imagine toward Iraq for an air-strike. My last group of local visitors came in at 12:30pm, 30 min before 1st contact. Time to get to work: powered up the telescope mount & aligned the 3 scopes (1040mm, 800mm, 1650mm). It was hot, over 100 deg. (I "baked" there the whole day, until 5:45 pm when I finally packed & left. Brutal!) I had to cover my cameras with socks & underwear. The clouds dissipated nicely as totality approached. I clearly remember looking up, & seeing the last few wisps extinguishing.

Just before totality, the yellowish wheat fields had long shadows, & everything had a strange look. Boy, did I get nervous! This, while scurrying about making last minute adjustments to the 3-adjoining platforms: wide-angle cameras, panorama, & multiple-exposure. I pulled off the filters 45 sec before 2nd contact (which I didn't know exactly, but estimated). 2nd contact was VERY quick, with multiple beads as the last portion of the photosphere was extinguished. (In '98, there was a lone, lingering bead). I had an equipment problem, but I "battled" thru them. My main corona camera jammed twice, but I got my bracketed sequence in. However, as the result, I wasn't able to visually look at the corona with the newly acquired 10x24 binoculars! But, I got 99% of the photo/video material I wanted, so I am satisfied. I had some good naked-eye looks during the 2 sec & 4 sec exposures. (as well as during 2nd & 3rd contact). I had to stay until 4th contact (~4pm), for the 2 multiple-exposure cameras. I found myself alone, packing until 5:45 pm.

I had 2 vomiting spells on the way back (23 hour bus-trip from Dyarbakir to Istanbul), during the "heavy" curves along the mountain-switchbacks. Boy, did I feel horrible at the next rest-stop for food! I bought some apples, to try to get rid of the queasiness. I had a nice lunch (beef dish) at a mountain top near Ankara, & felt a lot better. I recovered enough to tour Istanbul on the 12th-13th. Boy, was it hot & humid! The 2 boat trips across the Bosphorous Strait were fun, especially on the smaller boat. The trip back home (11 hour flight from Istanbul to Atlanta, 5 hour flight from Atlanta to LA) was relatively easy, compared to the monstrous bus-trips in Turkey. I find myself back in LA quite promptly, & feel "displaced" from my recent adventures a half-a-world away.

Incredibly, there was a monstrous 7.1 earthquake near Istanbul on the 17th. (Originally, I was going to stay until the 16th) I can only hope the people I had met made it through OK.

Another eclipse-chaser had a birthday on E-day (Aug. 11).. Click HERE for Dan McGlaun's eclipse report from nearby Batman, Turkey