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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 07:50:06 EST
Subject: ECLIPSE TRIP TO TURKEY

Hi all,

I'm sending the following notice out to all: apologies if you have already 
got an earlier version of it from David Bell, but we are trying to make sure 
that no-one slips through the net. No pun intended.

PLEASE REPLY TO DAVID BELL!


>From Terry Moseley and David Bell                               02/02/05

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE, TURKEY, 29 March 2006

Terry and I are posting this to as many IFAS club-members as we have email 
addresses for, and we would ask you all to disseminate it as widely and as 
quickly as you can within your clubs, and publicize it in whatever way you can to 
those who don't have email access (See below for our reasons in wanting to 
conduct these arrangements by email only)

It is by way of being an alert to all those who might be interested in going 
to Turkey in 2006, under the aegis of the Irish Federation of Astronomical 
Societies (IFAS), to see the total eclipse.
 
We are at last making progress in putting in place the arrangements for such 
a party, due almost entirely to Terry's efforts, with some helpful input from 
Valerie Canty of the Cork club. Terry has put in a great deal of research, and 
the results look very encouraging so far.

As Terry says, if you have never seen a total solar eclipse, you haven't 
lived! It cannot be described, only experienced! 
   
This eclipse will be the last total solar eclipse visible from anywhere not 
either incredibly remote, expensive, cloudy or dangerous, until 2017, when 
there's one visible in the USA. So if you want to see a total eclipse at a 
reasonable cost in even the medium-term future, this is your LAST CHANCE! The eclipse 
track starts in the S Atlantic, runs diagonally across N Africa, and exits 
that continent in Libya. It then crosses the Mediterranean without touching land 
until it reaches the S coast of Turkey, east of Antalya. It then crosses 
Turkey diagonally, crosses the Black Sea, & ends in an inaccessible part of 
Central Asia.
   
So the only practical observation sites are Turkey & Libya. We decided 
against Libya on grounds of extra cost, possible political complications, & extra 
travel difficulties. 
   
The weather prospects in that part of Turkey at that time of year are about 
70%, SO THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS! But the prospects for the IAA trip to 
Bulgaria in August 1999 were also only about 70%, and it was a total success!
   
We have chosen Antalya for several reasons:
1. Although not right on the central track, even in Antalya the duration is 
3m 10s, which is almost a minute more than we got in Bulgaria. So we would get 
a good view even from the hotel.
2. Being based in Antalya gives us the option to travel either East or South 
to get to, or very nearly to, the central line, to maximise the viewing time - 
3m 49s in both cases. See also 4 below.
3. Since it's not the main tourist season, it would be better to be in a 
fairly big city where there will be many more facilities open, and more to see & 
do, than in some of the smaller resorts such as Manavgat, which are much closer 
to the centre line. 
4. At Manavgat, for example, it would be a much longer journey to get to the 
more SE location to view the eclipse, if the weather prospects looked better 
there on the day.
5. There is a much better choice of hotels in Antalya.

The eclipse will take place on Wednesday 29th of March, and the bottom line 
is that at this stage it looks as if a week in a 4-star hotel in Antalya at 
that time in Turkey, Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday will cost about 
40 pounds, (60 euro) or a bit more for a 5-star hotel, B&B or half-board, per person 
sharing, including flights from London, transfers etc, but excluding insurance, 
which is mandatory. There would of course be a supplement for single occupancy, 
& reductions for children. The tour operator chosen will be fully ATOL and 
IATA bonded, so the total package will be secure from that angle. We haven't 
quite settled on this yet, so I would caution you all that closer examination 
might force a re-appraisal to a slightly more expensive package.

    There are no package operators in Ireland, North or South, who offer 
flights at this time as it is outside the tourist season, so the flight will be 
from London, probably Stansted. (If anyone knows different to this, could I ask 
you to get in touch with me as soon as possible?) This means that we will have 
to add the cost of a return flight from Dublin/Belfast/Shannon/Cork/Galway to 
London, and given the real possibility of a delay, and the admittedly remote 
possibility of a SERIOUS delay, I feel that this should be booked for the day 
before, thus necessitating the expense of an overnight stay in London, thereby 
adding about 50-60 pounds (80-90 euro) to the cost. Another option being considered 
would NOT involve an overnight stay in London, but that option is not confirmed 
yet. 

We will NOT be making arrangements for your journey to London for the flight 
to Turkey, nor return to Ireland afterwards. That will be ENTIRELY your own 
responsibility. We simply could not enter into arrangements for all the possible 
flight options from Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Shannon, let alone smaller 
airports such as Derry, Kerry, Knock, Sligo, Waterford, etc!" Cheap flights 
are available to London if you book early

Another slight downside is that since the event falls outside the tourist 
season (who arranges these things anyway?... I reckon somebody should have a 
word...) there might not be the usual tourist trips and activities, and this is 
one of the reasons we have settled on one week rather than two.  However through 
the good offices of Valerie down in Ballincollig, we are in touch with a 
Turkish tour operator who we hope will be able to lay some things on for us. Such 
activities would be optional, and at additional cost.

We should have firm figures soon, hopefully in no more than 2 or 3 weeks, and 
this is where I come into the picture...

Terry has done all the work so far, but it will be down to me as Chair of 
IFAS to collate a list of participants, arrange for deposits, and ultimately the 
balance, to be paid to the IFAS Treasurer. Here is the present and future 
likely program.

As I mentioned above, I want to conduct this entire venture by email. Apart 
from the sheer convenience of it, the main reason is that I can easily put 
together a database which can be sequentially updated from the initial interested 
parties, through those who actually confirm their interest by paying a 
deposit, to the ultimate fully paid-up list. For security, and in case I should fall 
under the wheels of the proverbial bus, I can then share this list with other 
individuals who could, in such an event, take over the reins. I know that far 
from all club members have email access, but I feel that it is perfectly 
feasible for the individual clubs to arrange for someone who has such access to act 
for those who haven't. I would also suggest that each club keeps a record of 
its own members who have registered, and henceforth occasionally double-check 
that no-one has slipped through the floorboards.  In fact it might be a good 
idea for all applications to be channelled through one person, but I will leave 
that up to the individual clubs. It would not be an onerous task.

So the first thing I want to do is put together an initial list of those who 
are SERIOUSLY interested. Now I realize that not everyone can commit 
themselves this early in the proceedings, and due allowance will be made for this. But 
since we will be using the numbers as a negotiating factor with the tour 
operators, the last thing we need is outright time-wasters. Send me your name and 
Club affiliation and any other details you feel are relevant. If you know 
someone else who doesn't have email, but would like to go, arrange to have a 
SEPARATE mail sent on their behalf. (NOTE; in the event of numbers exceeding 
capacity, IFAS club-members will take precedence over those who are not: the IAA is a 
member of IFAS) Since your computers might, on extremely rare occasions, 
break down or act up, you will find my phone number below, so you will be able to 
check on your application's progress that way. 

This list needs to be put together as soon as possible, because as I 
mentioned above, it looks as if we will be getting down to brass tacks with the tour 
operators in 2 or 3 weeks. The reasons for the urgency are obvious. First of 
all, the operators and hotels will soon realize that they will be able to charge 
a premium at the time of this eclipse, and secondly all the reasonably priced 
accommodation will soon fill up. We expect at least 70-100 to go on this 
trip.

As well as actual numbers, we need to know whether you will require single or 
double occupancy, or whether you would be prepared to share with another 
member of the same sex, to save costs, and the ages of any children who would be 
going, as at 25 March 2006. 

We envisage asking for a deposit of about £100, or €150, per person, as soon 
as the price & flight & hotel details are confirmed. This will be 
non-refundable (unless the whole deal falls through from the travel operator's end). The 
full balance will become payable 10 weeks before departure.

To sum up, I'll need, by email, and asap: 
Full names of all intending participants, with postal and or email addresses,
Ages of any children (under 16) at 25 March 2006,
Whether you want a double/twin/single or family room,
If going as a single, whether you would be prepared to share,
If there is a choice, whether you would prefer the 4* or 5* hotel, the latter 
at a slightly/moderately higher cost.

David Bell: sdbellgofree.indigo.ie 
Tel: (from N.I.) 00353 61 392786. (From ROI: 061 392786.)

(This copy via Terry Moseley)


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