Eclipse Tour 2008

Who are we and what do we want

We are a group of 6 active young people and we are going to go to Novosibirsk to watch the total solar eclipse on the 1st of August. The planned route is as follows: Riga – Caspian Sea – Aral Sea – Baiconur Cosmodrome – Novosibirsk – Riga, which we hope to track by two old UAZ cars (one of them) Recently we were searching for the 6th participant in our group, who could shoot a documentry movie, though just now we have found him. The expedition will not be easy and cheap – the roads of the CIS countries are not like those in Europe. We will try not to use hotel services – we will camp or search night’s shelter at local peoples’ places instead.

Why is this eclipse special

The idea about this journey was borne by 3 members of Youth Astronomy Club, because the total Solar eclipse of 2008 will be the only one observable at so close range in Eurasia till 2025 (another will be visible in India and China in 2009, but after that – none till the year of 2025). The map of predicted total Solar eclipses is shown here:

Aptumsumu redzamības karte

Pilns Total Solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon, when the Moon is situated precisely between the Sun and the point of observation on the Earth, therefore only the Sun’s corona – gases that are already seperated from the Sun’s surface and lay up to millions of km far from the Sun – are visible. In the photographs it looks like this:

Saule pilna aptumsuma laikā

A bit more about the route

As the event was carried out by astronomy activists, we decided, if possible, to include Baiconur Cosmodrome along our route. Therefore we will make a detour to Kazakhstan, and consequently why not visit the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea then. An then, it would be also interesting to see the great coal mine in Ekibastuz. Hereby the planned route is as follows: Riga – Saratov – Atirau (Caspian Sea) – Aralsk (Aral Sea) – Kizilorda – Baiconur Cosmodrome– Zhezkazgan – Karagandi – Ekibastuz – Pavlodar – Novosibirsk– Ekaterinburg – Kazan – Niznij Novgorod – Riga. If we would not overrun the time (we must be in Novosibirsk on 1st of August) then we will gladly visit also Lake of Balkhash or the Karkaraly Nature park in Kazakhstan. Here you can see the map of the route:


The route can also be examined interactively in Google Maps :
1st and 2nd part – Route to Baiconur
3rd part – Route from Baiconur to Novosibirsk
4th part – The way home from Novosibirsk