On April 8, 2005 we were aboard the ship MS Paul Gauguin In the South
Pacific Ocean at about 128 W Longitude, 21 S Latitude in the path of
our first ever total solar eclipse.
During a solar eclipse the moon passes directly between the sun and the
earth. As eclipses go this one was short, lasting at most 42
seconds and only 27 seconds where we were. The path of the
shadow across the earth began at
not far from New Zealand, curved up across the Pacific ocean, then
across Panama, and Columbia before ending in Venezuela at sunset there.
A map showing the path can be seen by clicking
The speed of the shadow over the earth's surface was more than 1300
miles per hour (2200 km/hr) at our location and even faster near the
ends of its track. This was also an unusual hybrid
eclipse. That means that it was annular (leaving a ring of
sun exposed around the moon) or total (only the solar prominences and
corona extending beyond the moon) depending where you were along the
track of the shadow. This can happen because even though the
is much larger than the moon it is so much farther away that it appears
to be the same size (about 1/2 degree wide). The orbit of the
moon is an elipse not a perfect circle so the apparent size of the moon
varies slightly depending on just where it is in its orbit.
is enough to make it appear either slightly larger or smaller than the
sun (resulting in a total eclipse or annular eclipse respectively). In
addition because the earth is a sphere the point at which the moon is
directly overhead is closer to the moon by 4000 miles (6300 kilometers)
which is enough for the apparent size of the moon to be larger than the
sun over the middle of the track and smaller at the ends. Of all solar eclipses, about 35
are partial; 32 percent annular; 28 percent total; but only 5 percent
are hybrids. If you
want more information it can be found on the NASA Goddard Eclipse web page
We nearly missed
due to clouds which can be seen in some of the pictures.
You can jump directly to pictures by each of these photographers by
clicking on their name or just scroll down and see them all.
Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye
Click on the
directly above his photos to send him e-mail.
My pictures were all taken with a Nikon 950 with an added 10 X afocal
A few of my pictures of the partial phases prior to totality
Immediately prior to totality the clouds were getting thicker.
But the ship's captain managed to find a break in the clouds just as
totality began. And this is what we saw.
The ship's pitch and roll put the first at the edge of its
My camera was oriented so that all of my pictures are rotated about 45
degrees clockwise from those taken by others.
As the sun emerges from behind the moon a Diamond Ring
A moment later the diamond brightens but you can still see the red
solar prominences and just a bit of the corona extending beyond the
edge of the moon.
The extreme range in brightness in these last 2 pictures produced some
artifacts in the camera.
images on this page are copyrighted by the photographers and used with
Here are some
pictures and comments from others on our ship.
The first three photos are
was sure up and down when the clouds would come and go from
first contact to second contact! I caught the eclipse in the clouds
just after second contact. Boy, were we all relieved to see those
clouds leave! Much thanks to the astronomers and the captain of the
The dot you see near the right edge of each of these frames is the
planet Venus which emerged during totality.
Loren Dolman took this picture
using a Kodak Pro14n with a Nikon 80-400 VR at 300mm and low
f-stop. Again you can see Venus.
next three pictures are by
Frank McClatchie. In these you can see some changes in the
of the corona and in the last one Venus.
During WW II Frank and 12 other men boarded a German sub. It
to Frank to order the captain off the sub and into their ship's launch.
He said that if the captain of this cruise hadn't found a hole in the
clouds and because of that we missed the eclipse he was considering a
It should also be noted that we weren't far from Pitcarin island so
that may also have figured in his thoughts.
These pictures were
taken by Norton
photos are by Jean-Luc
L. J. Dighaye
who noted "Success
on the m/s Paul Gauguin. But it was a very close thing! A thick cloud
went away just seconds before second contact."
These pictures were taken
with a Nikon
D100 and a Nikkor 70-200 VR lens set to 200mm. Check out his web site
reported that he
last picture by Jean-Luc is of the 'last moon' the day before the
wide angle image (actually 40mm) with a Rollei box camera at about f/5
with shutter speed of 1/30 sec on Fuji
film. The image
was then enlarged and printed at a darker density. Venus is clearly
visible below and to the right of the eclipse.
Matt also shot these close up images with a Celestron SS80 spotting
scope (f/5) acting as a 400mm telephoto at 1/1000 sec also on Fuji 200
print film. The images were enlarged, cropped and printed at
somewhat darker density.
by people in
the MWT Associates Paul
group are here.
Dennis Mammana was also on the Paul Gauguin
eclipse photos on his site.
ship MV Discovery was
located at 129
deg 38.7' W
and 22 deg 37.2 S,
also in the path of totality. This picture and comments from Craig Prater, "These
images were taken 1 second apart using a Canon Digital Rebel at ~200 mm
focal length on a fixed tripod. The rocking motion of the ship caused
the center of the image to bob up and down from exposure to exposure.
So you can really appreciate any high mag telescopic images taken under
eclipse pictures can be
found at www.Spaceweather.com
I wish to thank all the photographers for their generous permission for
the use of their pictures. And I hope to see you all on a
Other eclipses we have seen:
March 29, 2006
August 1, 2008
Here are links to places we visited on this tour. Tahiti, Pitcairn, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Fakarava, and Moorea.
And links photos of the eclipse
we saw on the trip.
other places we have visited here.
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