Hans van der Meer's Eclipse Page

 

Contents

Total solar eclipses up to 2020


 

Total solar eclipses in The Netherlands

The last total solar eclipse visible from the Netherlands - only from the northern islands Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling and part of Ameland -  was on 3 May 1715. The map shows the central line and upper and lower boundaries of the totality zone.

There are no known records that someone in the Netherlands actually witnessed totality. Henk Nieuwenhuis of the Eise Eisinga Planetarium discovered that a school teacher, Hoyte Roucoma (1661-1719), in the village of Dronrijp, just below the line of totality had made a remark in his diary about the almost total darkness during a short period. During that time it was impossible for him to continue his classes.

 An article (in Dutch) about this event can be found on the Zenit website.

Note: After a period of 420 years without one there will be 3(!) total solar eclipses visible from The Netherlands in a period of 16 years:  7 October 2135, 25 May 2142 and 14 June 2151.

 For the full path of the total solar eclipse of 3 May 1715 in Google Earth .kml format click here.

 

Path of the total solar eclipse of 3 May 1715
Eclipse paths on this page by Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC and Edmund Halley

Halley's Eclipse

The eclipse of 3 May 1715 is also known as Halley's eclipse, as Edmund Halley (1656-1742) had predicted this eclipse to within 4 minutes accuracy. He was probably one of the first to draw the path of totality on a map of England, seen on the left. As the map was about 30 km off the observed eclipse path, Halley later corrected the map. As Great Britain adapted the Gregorian calender only in 1752, the date on the map is shown as 22 April 1715 (the Julian calendar having a 11 days difference).

In 1720 Halley succeeded John Flamsteed, and became the second Astronomer Royal. He stayed in Greenwich until his death in 1742.

Halley, who also discovered the proper motion of stars,  will be remembered mostly for the prediction of the 1758 return of the comet that now bears his name, and visits the inner parts of the solar system every 76 years.

Total and Annular eclipses in The Netherlands since the year 1000

TOTAL:
3 May 1715 - see above
17 June 1433 - most of the Netherlands
16 June 1406 - South East Netherlands
16 July 1330 - narrow path over provinces Friesland - Overijssel
6 October 1241 - Groningen
20 March 1140 - touched only the northern parts of the Netherlands
2 August 1133 - most of the Netherlands

ANNULAR:
17 April 1912 - see below
7 September 1820 - North East part of the country
1 April 1764 - most of the country
12 November 1547 - whole country
15 April 1409 - North of the river Rhine
31 January 1310 - most of the country
5 September 1290 - most of the country
23 June 1191 - Northern parts of the country
26 October 1147 - most of the country

The "Titanic" eclipse of 17 April 1912

 

The last annular eclipse in the Netherlands was 17 April 1912, just two days after the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank.

It was an hybrid eclipse. Totality was only 2 seconds at maximum west of Portugal. The annular phase near Maastricht was only 5 seconds, during which a "string of pearls" around the moon was visible.

The eclipse of 17 April 1912 over Suriname

An interesting fact about this eclipse is that it connected two remote parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The central line crossed both Suriname (in 1912 a Dutch colony) and the Netherlands.

This was the only occasion in the past 1000 years that the central line of an eclipse crossed both countries.

For the full path of the total solar eclipse of 17 April 1912 in Google Earth .kml format click here

The article of W.H. Julius in The Astrophysical Journal

Scientific Expedition

W.H. Julius, director of the Physics Laboratory of the University of Utrecht, organised several expeditions to solar eclipses: 18 May 1901 on Sumatra, and 30 August 1905 in Burgos, Spain. Julius performed measurements  on the solar corona and took spectra of the  chromosphere, the thin layer between the photosphere and the corona.

In 1912 Julius organised an expedition closer to home, near Maastricht, to study the eclipse of 17 April of that year. The main scientific purpose was to verify whether the eclipse happened at the predicted time.

During the eclipse, the expedition performed experiments to measure the radiation of the solar atmosphere. In 1913 the results were published in the Astrophysical Journal.


See also: C. de Jager, 2001, De Natuurkunde van de Zon, in Evolutie in Weer- en Sterrenkunde, 100 jaar Nederlands Onderzoek, ISBN 90-6638-041-1.

Back