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 moon's shadow across the earth began at sunrise 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 here.  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 the 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 sun 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.  This 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 percent 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 the Eclipse due to clouds which can be seen in some of the pictures.

Clicking on any of the pictures will bring up a larger view of it.
Clicking here will get this page with larger versions of all the pictures (recommended only if you have a fast connection or a lot of time).

You can jump directly to pictures by each of these photographers by clicking on their name or just scroll down and see them all.

Barry Kierstein
Loren Dolman
Frank McClatchie
Norton Roitman
Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye
Matt Ventimiglia
Craig Prater

Click on the photographers name directly above his photos to send him e-mail.

My pictures were all taken with a Nikon 950 with an added 10 X afocal lens.
A few of my pictures of the partial phases prior to totality
Kuehner  Kuehner  Kuehner  Kuehner

Immediately prior to totality the clouds were getting thicker.
Kuehner  Kuehner  Kuehner

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 frame. 
My camera was oriented so that all of my pictures are rotated about 45 degrees clockwise from those taken by others.
Kuehner  Kuehner

As the sun emerges from behind the moon a Diamond Ring appears. 
Kuehner 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.
Kuehner diamond ring 2
The extreme range in brightness in these last 2 pictures produced some artifacts in the camera.

All images on this page are copyrighted by the photographers and used with their permission.

Here are some pictures and comments from others on our ship.

The first three photos are from  Barry Kierstein  "It 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 ship! "

The dot you see near the right edge of each of these frames is the planet Venus which emerged during totality.
Barry Kierstein  Barry Kierstein  Barry Kierstein 

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.
Loren Dolman

In the next three pictures are by Frank McClatchie.   In these you can see some changes in the shape of the corona and in the last one Venus.
During WW II Frank and 12 other men boarded a German sub.  It fell 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 similar action.
It should also be noted that we weren't far from Pitcarin island so that may also have figured in his thoughts.
Frank McClatchie   Frank McClatchie   Frank McClatchie

These pictures were taken by Norton Roitman.
Norton Roitman   Norton Roitman 

The following 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 for more astronomical pictures.
Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye   Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye  Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye
This last picture by Jean-Luc is of the 'last moon' the day before the eclipse.
Jean-Luc L. J. Dighaye

Matt Ventimiglia  reported that he shot this wide angle image (actually 40mm) with a Rollei box camera at about f/5 with shutter speed of 1/30 sec on Fuji 200 print 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 four 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 a somewhat darker density.

Photos by people in the MWT Associates Paul Gauguin group are here.

Dennis Mammana was also on the Paul Gauguin and has eclipse photos on his site.

The 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 these conditions!"
Craig Prater from Discovery

Other eclipse pictures can be found at

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 future eclipse adventure.

Other eclipses we have seen
    Greece  March 29, 2006
    Mongolia  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, eclipse photographytikis, the ship, young dancersfood, fish, and flowers and trees we saw on the trip.

See other places we have visited here.

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