Raoul Lannoy



In august 2017, in the US, we’ll witness a total solar eclipse….. I read that it’s going to be the most observed one, ever….

Well, let me tell you about the previous Saros…..

Decades ago, in Europe, long before the turn of the Century, scientific and esoteric publications told the story of the upcoming august 11 1999 Total Solar Eclipse, crossing the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Iran, India, etc…

Even in 1959, a famous flemish weatherman gave an appointment with his viewers in 1999 for the Solar Eclipse…

In 1998, I went to Guadeloupe for the february 26  totality (full success and my first) with Urania, the Antwerp astronomy association I had joined a year earlier.. This was in preparation for the 99 eclipse.. All during those months, publications would warn us about the Nostradamus Quatrain Predictions that coincided with the Eclipse…. And also the Cassini flyby (august 16 99) with its nuclear pellets. As time went by, more and more magazines, newspapers, TV shows in all countries around were mentioning the August 11 totality… Astrologers, doomsdaysayers were I’m afraid too often more eloquent and better looking than genuine scientists (Hey, we’re near the End of the Century, aren’t we ? ).. I became head of my club (sort of) during 99 and decided we’d have reunions also in the summer vacation months (I’d really become president in september 99).. I volunteered to work for Urania and guided a bus to Noyon in France.

Everybody was talking about the event. I sold many eclipse shades, Had my work colleagues visit Urania, got lots of requests (translating weather reports from flemish to french for days before the event till the very end), etc… Urania truly capitalized on the event, got money to renew its premisses, became much better known.

Astronaut Jean-Pierre Haigneree abord MIR, told the world they had NO intention to crash the space station into Paris on august 11, as predicted by the stylist Paco Rabane and Cassini was NOT going to crash on Earth during its flyby….  

 The fatefull day started for me at 03 :0 AM and ended at 10 :30 PM… We didn’t see it (clouds) , we were cought in huge traffic jams around Lille, coming back… I remember how silent the bus was, from the dissapointment. I had 4 different TV channels programmed for simultaneous recordings, asked my friends to record others too…. Many friends had more luck.

I believe this very eclipse is responsible for the creation of AWB as Mike Simmons travelled to Iran and met many iranian enthusiasts and that’s  when the idea started.

In 2013, july 19, AWB was again involved in spreading the news about a special day : The Day the Earth Smiled…. We waved at Saturn when Cassini (the same probe that flew by Earth in 99) took a picture from behind Saturn, when the Sun was eclipsed (again) by that planet….  Formidable success… Even for our clubs in Belgium!

And for the Saros following august 99, in august 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the USA….We are already feeling the pressure (the touristic affluence is expected to change prices of various places we’d want to visit) . We are getting organized and hope everything will turn out fine.  And this just days before the firy and glorious end of Cassini, after increasing a thousandfold our knowledge of the Ringed Planet Saturn that so much fascinates the youth…..  

Raoul Lannoy
Nerviersstraat 19
2018 Antwerpen
Lat N 51°12'22" Long E 04°25'16"
AWB Belgian coordinator
Astroclub Vega president


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    About Me

    Born in Belgium in 1957 (from a Belgian father and an American mother). Here, everything seems a lot more complicated: more taxes, more government, more languages, more people per square kilometer or mile, more light pollution, but, nevertheless, as much passion for things going on up there, naturally or man made. This was thanks to the first time I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1968, followed by the promises of the Moon. One weakness was my dislike for maths, which led to human science studies (law and a specialization in insurance). I've been working since 1982 in the...


    Location:Antwerp, Antwerp
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