While the Eclipse is fresh in your mind...
In 90 years time, at the time of the next solar eclipse, future generations may wonder how we celebrated the 1999 eclipse. Did we huddled, terrified behind the sofa? perhaps strange sacrificial rituals involving household pets?
Lets dispel the myths - 22villages is looking for 22 short personal accounts (say a couple of paragraphs sent as an email) of how you and your family marked the eclipse and what it meant to you. These accounts have been compiled into this special page on the 22villages website - If you would like to add your recollections to this, simple send an email to joe@22villages.org 

The atmosphere when totality was achieved
We went to France for the Eclipse and were very worried on the day about the
weather & traffic. We headed for the coast only to be turned back a few kilometres away from our chosen site as the roads were so busy. Well this was a blessing in disguise as there were hoards of people whooping in delight on the coast where as our family shared the moment with 2 other English families & a couple of French farmers in a tranquil field. (We looked naff but enthusiastic in our "Eclipse 99 T-shirts). 

Our friend was well geared up with binoculars on a tripod covered with the appropriate filters & we all had the special eclipse glasses. One of the striking things about the event was the hysteria whipped up by the UK government with the advise of "It is only safe to watch the eclipse from indoors" compared to the sensible enthusiasm of the French - there were glasses advertised everywhere & at the toll booth there was information on how to act
during the eclipse if you happened to be on the motorway during the big event.

Up until about 2 minutes before totality the sun was hidden behind the clouds but luckily we had a clear view for the big event. Whilst the build up was of interest I could not believe the difference in atmosphere when totality was achieved. Truly beautiful. Add this to the Normandy alcohol that was passed round when all was over & a memorable holiday was had by all.

By the way the day after the eclipse in Switzerland there were signs up for
people to return their solar glasses for recycling - very
Helen Jenkinson from Tuddenham

click to enlarge

The Eclipse, Suffolk. 1999.
After a number of family discussions concerning the various aspects of safety my husband took Wednesday August 11th off work to drive the family a full four miles to our local nature reserve. 
We had reconnoitered the scene the previous day to find the best viewing spot; a deep dark lake with a reflection undisturbed by protruding reeds.
At the moment of greatest expectation when the eclipse was to break through the cloud cover a family of ducks appeared requesting our immediate attention. Their agitated wings cut into the water destroying the sharp image. Casting around for still water we settled down to watch the whole event in a puddle. 
For over an hour we watched the eclipsed sun drift in and out of the broken cloud casting an array of unusual hues. The white light contrasting strongly with the range of pinks, rusts and blues. It was quite spectacular.
Sarah Brownie, Cavenham

Never work with Children... or Plants!
On August 11th. 1999 I woke up in a motel room in Port Huron near the U.S.A. border with Canada. I was on my way to see the Niagara Falls before visiting friends in Michigan. I turned the television on at 6 a.m. Eastern Time and watched CCN being broadcast live from Cornwall in England. The camera showed the crowds watching the eclipse, a very colourful scene. The CNN reporter held aloft a flower in a flowerpot. It was a mesembryanthemum plant that closes its petals at night and opens them in the morning in response to daylight. The anchor man in the studio quipped that this plant was the cheapest scientific advisor CNN had ever hired. Unfortunately during the eclipse the mesembryanthemum did nothing; obviously not a flower looking for a future on television
Susan Cook at Red Lodge

See also...

Solar Eclipse
The UK Eclipse Group (mainly scientific bodies) offer information on the 1999 total solar eclipse.

Fred Espenak's Eclipse Page
A wealth of information, links and on-line publications about solar and lunar eclipses, compiled by Fred Espenak at the NASA Goddard Space Center in America. Puts most other eclipse sites in the shade.