Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Totality, HD fisheye video [ 2006 3/29 Salloum, Egypt ]

wide-angle HD video (fisheye lens) of pre-Totality, 2nd contact, Totality, 3rd contact

Flash 8 version:

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Incredibly, the 747-400 "Dusseldorf" has a WiFi hotspot available. So, I'm blogging as we are flying over Greenland. The above pictures are nearly live.

overnight @Frankfurt, blogging with Internet zorks

I caught some eats (inspired by C. Johnson/USC theoretical physicist), to "fuel up" in order to combat my flu. Then, I found a power-outlet & paid $18 Euro for a 24 hr WiFi T-Mobile connection. I then wandered over to the upper level to find a more comfortable blogging place, & ran into 2 Internet guys doing the same. We laughed about how the "watering hole" attracts PC users: power-outlets! I paid another $18 for 24 hr T-Mobile connection, & they checked out the QTVR eclipse pano (stitched by Robert Fisher), see above. At around 11:30pm I noticed my charge indicator went away..all of our laptops were NOT charging. Apparently, the power outlet was switched off. We quickly re-packed, & went searching for another power-outlet..we found one near the security checkpoint. We sprawled out, & spent there until 4am. Uh Oh, no T-Mobile signal for me! But, Laurie/Estonia found a Vodafone signal & it was 30 min free. Except, no uploads allowed. So, some fancy network setup by Laurie (using reverse Ethernet cable to mine) allowed uploading. We also discussed my RealTimeWebcasting project, & how Technology is difficult to get embraced by general community (see T-shirt logo). We messed around, until we couldn't STAND IT ANYMORE..4am like. We caught some food at the 24 hr store, & parted ways. I later ran into Laurie..on his way to Japan. This guy is a Linux wizard, he works for a security company in Japan. Wade is a Web specialist from Colorado, in process of relocating to England. We had some interesting discussions on history, culture, ethnicity, etc.

I never thought my overnight stay in Frankfurt would be such a rich experience.

flight to Frankfurt, geologist/environmental scientist

Lufthansa Flight #580 to Frankfurt was straightforward, I really enjoyed the BBC program on the 2006 World Cup in Leipzig/Germany. Lots of good material on competition & winning, i.e. Game Theory. The Swiss guy next to me was a geologist turned Environmental Scientist working for Siemens. He's looking at my eclipse pictures, & we discussed on science subjects. When I brought up Alfred Wegener (proposed Continental Drift, i.e. what we know now as Plate Tectonics) he said "of course, he is our patron saint". He even had a Scientific America, which ironically had a front cover about Particle Physics. We exchanged emails for future correspondence.

packup, archive images, leave for Cairo Int'l airport

Overnight bus-trip from Dahab to Cairo was OK, slept half-way decent. Had a raging temperature (because of 2nd camel-ride) just before I left, so I was really concerned about getting sick on bus. Got into Cairo @6:30am, & got whisked off to Magy Hotel by their driver. Blogged some pics from their DSL terminal, then took a couple of hour nap. Woke up, & scrambled to start packing the 3 70 lb cases. Archived the images on my Powerbook. Running behind, left @12 noon. Man, was it chaotic getting out of our parking area, it was crammed w/vehicles. Got to Airport @12:50 (flight leaves @2:40pm), & there was mess involving baggage weight allowances (won't repeat it here). Got to plane @2:40pm..man, is that cutting it CLOSE or what!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blue Hole, camel ride to Abu Galum

Camel ride to Abu Galum, from Blue Hole. Scenery was incredible, the contrast between desert & sea was amazing. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Abu Galum is just a few huts on the beach, a few families. I ended up getting sick & cramps..again! Just like on the camel ride @Giza/pyramids. I had to dismount from the camel, & walk back on the return leg. My tender butt couldn't take it anymore.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

eclipse pictures

fisheye wide-angle

3rd contact, diamond-ring

2nd contact, diamond-ring

Eclipse weather was perfect..the rain 2 days earlier cleared out the dust.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Giza pyramids on camel

I spent the day on a camel tour @Giza pyramids. Got a lot of photos, incl sunrise from a rooftop. Went inside the pyramid (incredibly humid) & saw the tomb. Did some QTVR panoramas. Went up a hill, & got some long distance view of pyramids. Late in the day there was a sandstorm & rain! Got sick, because of lack of water/food. Sunset pic opportunities was nil (because of rain), & headed back to hotel for rest. I leave for all night bus-trip to Dahab in 20 min.

Monday, March 27, 2006

10am Mar 27, weather update

Univ of Athens prediction for Mar 27 (12:00 UTC, 2pm local time), clear skies. The low-pressure system moves on east.

Univ of Athens prediction for Mar 28 (12:00 UTC, 2pm local time), clear skies. The low-pressure system moves on east.

No prediction yet for Mar 29 (12:00 UTC, 2pm local time)..too far in advance.

signs of clearing @10:48am

I am feeling better about our weather prospects for Eclipse-day.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Raining on Mar 27 (morning), what!?

A steady rain greeted me, as I woke up @9am. Hmm..this is not good for my stress levels. 1st, a fairly significant car problem. 2nd, issues with lack of freedom-of-movement for our 4x4 (can't offroad south of Sallum near Egypt/Libya border). 3rd, weather issues. Rain is NOT a welcome sight near eclipse-day! However, see previous post for clear sky prediction (Univ of Athens) for Wed/Mar 29. This Low pressure area should give way to dual High-Pressure areas (sandwiching Sallum)

In the background of pic, is the Libyan Plateau (where many observation areas are setup, incl Scientist-Area). The plateau goes all the way to the Mediterranean.

I didn't expect our 4x4 scout mission..to turn into mud-bogging!!

everyone is excited about blogging pictures of themselves to the Internet

Blogging over breakfast @Sallum

Blogging from Sallum/Egypt

Blogging setup from house (Awaad's brother), using dialup connection. Had to bring in car-battery + Radio Shack inverter to power Powerbook. The 220VAC -> 120VAC adapter blew up in Marsa-Matrouh

Blogging & Sleeping.

Uploading multiple large files (video especially!) takes a long time, so I take a nap in between. Wakeup an hour later, & wrapup upload. I'm posting @5:43am, & have been up for 2hrs trying to get latest weather report. Looks good for Wednesday (Mar 29) E-Day, for 12:00 UT (about time of eclipse). No clouds expected, & high-pressure area dominant.

Here's what I expected:

1) freedom of movement (using 4x4) south of Sallum
2) difficult Internet access (if at all)

The exact OPPOSITE happened: almost no movement allowed south of Sallum (because of Egyptian military presence on Libya/Egypt border), & GREAT Internet access!

Dang, a eclipse LiveWebCast could be done from Awaad's brothers house! I probably come back to house after eclipse, & upload a few eclipse pictures before I head back to Cairo.

UPDATE: weather situation @5am local-time (Mar 27)

weather front @2am local-time, note "L 1014" (2nd one from top, right-side) planted over Libya/Egypt border

MeteoFrance satellite-image @1am local-time, note clouds over Egypt/Libya border

Univ of Athens prediction for Mar 29 12:00 UT (2pm local-time), no clouds on Libya/Egypt border. note 2 high-pressure areas sandwiching Libya/Egypt border.

I guess there is some cause for optimism.

"Forecast is what you expect, Weather is what you get"

We will see what happens on E-day, on March 29 (around noon local time for eclipse)

weather update for March 29, itinerary for March 30

Low-pressure area, causing the cloud-cover

uh-oh.., pessimistic weather prediction for Wed (Mar 29), eclipse-day

A more optimistic weather prediction (Univ of Athens/Greece)..some hope.

A corresponding optimistic weather forecast, corresponding to above

We visited the (only) hotel in Sallum, & discovered Dr. Serge Koutchmy had been in on Fri (March 24) inquiring about a place to store his telescope equipment. He is staying in Sidi Barani. As I was leaving, I was called over by a person (teacher of Arabic) who gave me directions to the high-school where Dr. Koutchmy will be observing eclipse. We plan to visit tomorrow, to exchange information/strategy on eclipse.

We had extensive discussion on itinerary for Monday (March 27):

- military presence on border, rules out any 4x4'ing recon missions near Libya/Egypt border (south of Sallum)
- trying for various places south of Sallum: last house, at base of "cliff" (Libyan Plateau)
- south & southwest of Bugbuq
- two hills in southern Sallum
- scientist-area on Libyan Plateau west of Sallum

getting permits for Sallum, relaxing over dinner

making copies of passport & letter (Dr. Hady/Cairo University)

chill out after busy day, having dinner

"King's Meal", typical Egyptian cuisine. Green beans, lamb's meat, leaf dip, et al

hand-wash after meal