EurAstro Mission to Libya 2005

Jean-Luc Dighaye

The EurAstro 2005/A expedition, from 24 Sep to 08 Oct 2005, comprised 5 persons: P. Sala (Mission Manager), C. Klein, M. Mazzanti, G. Zambelli and myself.

Prof. A. Carriere, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, provided excellent accommodation for us in Tripoli, and he organised an eclipse event on 26 Sep, where P. Sala and myself presented a bilingual EN/IT slide show. Many Libyan and European diplomats attended the event.

Our expedition to the Libyan desert took place from 27 Sep to 05 Oct. We first explored the region from the Waw an Namus volcano to the Djebel Maaruf mesas, where the central paths of the present annular solar eclipse and the upcoming total solar eclipse of 29 March 2006 intersect. Several potential eclipse observation sites were evaluated.

Waw an Namus:

Eclipse Camp:

The observations included

- the imaging of a reference star field in which the eclipsed Sun will be next March, allowing a remake of Sir Eddington's light bending experiment if weather during the total solar eclipse is perfectly clear;

- wide-field views of the galactic centre and the Milky Way after dusk;

- the Milky Way from Orion to Canopus, and the zodiacal light before dawn;

- and the annular solar eclipse.

Temperatures varied from 16-19C before dawn to 40-42C in the mid-afternoon. The eclipse caused a temperature drop of 5C.

Reference Field:

Galactic centre:

Milky Way:

Filtered Orion:

Zodiacal Light:

annularity begins:


annularity ends:

Bailey's Beads:

Libya is a friendly country with an impressive record of ancient art and civilisation. In and around Tripoli, we visited the National Museum, Sabratha, Leptis Magna and Villa Silin.

National Museum:


Leptis Magna:

Villa Silin:

A more comprehensive report is available on request from
J.-L. Dighaye.