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Jul. 12 2010 - 5:34 pm | 88 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Total solar eclipse: Totally awesome

A tourist watches the solar eclipse in the sky...

Image by AFP via @daylife

Yesterday’s total solar eclipse lived up to its billing, for the lucky few able to watch the event that passed over a sliver of the South Pacific.

“The sky was wonderful,” said astronomer Jay Pasachoff, a veteran eclipse-chaser (this was his 51st) who viewed the sun’s mid-day disappearance from remote Easter Island.

Video and pictures of the eclipse are still coming in — I think the best won’t be released for several days — but some early shots give a hint of the spectacular event.

The image below was taken by a Greek astronomer in the Cook Islands.



Totality, July 11, 2010, by Constantinos Emmanouilidis


The eclipse was visible in a narrow path falling across southern Argentina , where German astronomer Daniel Fischer took this photo.

Eclipse over the Andes at sunset. Photo credit, Daniel Fischer

For a few seconds on either side of totality, a star-sharped pattern appears and then refines briefly into a “diamond ring” effect.

Star pattern, Photo credit NASA

Sky-watchers on Easter Island had nearly five minutes of totality. At the end of the transit, viewers on the southern tip of South America had just two minutes to enjoy the rare event.

If you want to catch a total solar eclipse without spending a fortune (as some “umbraphiles” did to witness yesterday’s eclipse) you’ll just need some patience.

The next of these magnificent events will be crossing the U.S. from Oregon all the way to South Carolina — but not until August 21, 2017.

[See my story from yesterday with salacious details about the then-imminent phenom.]


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