Solar eclipse in Norway

Expedition to Tromsø, Norway

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We’ve been here 3½ years ago, watching aurora from Senja Island and chasing the total solar eclipse in Svalbard, both in March. There has been no other solar eclipse in Europe since then, except for small bits of the ‘American’ eclipse of 2017, visible from the Atlantic coast. Inspired by the beautiful snowy end of winter, we decided to come again in summer.

August 11, 2018

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The greatest eclipse (74%) will occur far on the other side of the Arctic Ocean, near Chukchi Peninsula and Wrangel Island. At a 4300km distance, northern Norway will be the nearest location in the mainland Europe – up to 34% in Honningsvåg (Nordkapp).

Most locations in northern Europe will see smaller magnitudes too, such as Helsinki (7%), Tallinn (6%), Oslo and Stockholm (4%), however, the weather in August doesn’t get much better as you go further south: it can be rainy anywhere in Scandinavia, Finland or Estonia.
Partial phases will be also visible over the large area, from Greenland, across the most of Russia to Central-Eastern Asia.

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In Tromsø the eclipse will last only 1½ hour, from 10:30 to 11:59 CEST. The maximum eclipse is at 11:14, at a 34° altitude – high enough to rise above the local mountains.

At 69.7° North latitude, Tromsø is located within the Arctic circle, and therefore experiences the polar day from the end of April to mid-August. The Sun never sets between May 19 – July 26th (unless obstructed by local mountains), even a couple of days longer on the outlying islands. At the time of our trip, the Sun will set for about five hours each day, but not deeper than -6°, so the sky still won’t get dark at midnight.

Our plans

We plan to arrive to Tromsø on August 9th, nearly two days in advance, and to stay for a few more days after the eclipse in the area – Kvaløya, Ringvassøya, Lyngen.

The eclipse viewing spot will be chosen based on the last available weather forecast. This may require either driving along the coast (west to Senja or east to Lyngen/Oksfjord) towards the clearer skies, as the eclipse view doesn’t depend much on a specific location. Or otherwise, if the bad weather comes from the sea, we’ll need to escape inland towards Kilpisjärvi (Finland) or Abisko (Sweden) – in a similar way as we evaded the snow storms during the 2015 aurora chase.

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Unfortunately, there is no possibility to join this trip, but you’d be more than welcome to be a part of the future Astrosafari expeditions!

*August 11, 1999 was one of the most memorable total solar eclipses, triggering the interest in astronomy for many curious young people, as its path has crossed all Europe – England, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, România, Turkey (and then further to Iran, Pakistan and India). The author, Roman Kostenko, still being a school kid back then, watched a partial eclipse from Poltava, Ukraine. Now I’m happy to celebrate the 19th anniversary of this peculiar hobby.