Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Back on line. This hotel we are staying in at Side on the south coast of Turkey is not to my taste. It is more like Las Vegas on the Med than what I would prefer to stay at when I'm traveling. However it has one important advantage: It is on the centerline of the eclipse, and therefore offers almost 4 minutes of totality. I've noticed that the Sky & Telescope Magazine eclipse tour is also here, as well as the official NASA eclipse team.

Eclipses can last anywhere from a fraction of a minute to upwards of seven minutes, depending on how deeply the rapier tip of the Moon's shadow reaches the Earth; that is -- maintaining the same grisly metaphor -- whether it barely grazes the Earth's cheek, or slices clean through the planet.

Today the sky is clear and sunny, and the prognostication is good for eclipse day tomorrow. We have our fingers crossed.

Here's a bit of ancient technology: Underfloor heating chambers at the baths of the Roman city of Perge, not far from here -- with two of my grandchildren in the background.