link is track Map
on the Equator
and Aurora in the Arctic
West Africa then Eclipse at Sea on the Corinthian
See the Travel Pages
Another TravelQuest success!
|Australia 12|| Eclipse on the MV Orion near Green Island,
|South Seas 10||
We had a successful trip to Easter Island. This was the first time I ever "saw" Baily's Beads.
The first time I have been rained on during an eclipse!
| Russia 08
I watched this eclipse entirely unaided.
For 10 years this was my most successful photo expedition (Now surpassed by Oregon 17). See the closeups of the eclipse on the Libya 06 Page.
|South Seas 05
||A short shipboard eclipse from the Paul Gauguin. An excellent captain managed to get us our 30 seconds of totality.|
|Off Africa 02
||On board the Marco Polo.
Like in 1999 we had problems. This time the ship waited until the
last minute to race to clear skies. We didn't make it, but at
least the clouds were not too thick.
2nd bad experience on this ship! I do not recommend this ship. If you are going to view from a ship make sure the eclipse is a priority for them!!
||A wonderful eclipse from a farm
north of Lusaka.
|Black Sea 99
||A wonderfully clear sky, but the
captain turned the Marco Polo at the last minute. Oops for all those
who had aligned their tripods.
||My first from an airport in
I saw the 85+% partial eclipse in 1963,but it was almost 30 years before I got a life (and enough money) to start traipsing around the world.
While not as interesting as Total Eclipses both of these events were visible from California.
||Partial Solar Eclipse viewed from Home
Shrunk the Moon?
Annular Eclipse in Nevada
When a moon gets between its planet and the sun then the moon casts a shadow on the planet. This is no different from holding your hand in front of you and noticing the shadow on the ground. This shadow is rather complex, but this is discussed below.
Eclipses on the earth were once the subject of shamans and superstition. Even today in many countries well meaning local press put fear into their citizens that sunlight during an eclipse is somehow dangerous. (The extreme stories try to discourage people from looking at the sun before and after totality).
the sun. The only other planet that has easily observable eclipses is
Jupiter. Jupiter’s moons regularly cross between the planet and the
Sky and Telescope publishes tables of these eclipses each month. Google offers a tool to make predictions on your PC. Many Planetarium programs will also generate predictions on Jupiter Eclipses. The example on the left is from SkyTools Pro V3.
However, we are concerned with eclipses on the Earth. Eclipses on the earth are so spectacular because the moon and sun have about the same apparent size in our skies. This allows the moon to mask the brightest parts of the sun while not masking the corona.
There are two “Eclipse Months” each year. During each of these lunations either or both a solar eclipse (when the moon is between the sun and earth) or a lunar eclipse (when the earth is in between) can occur. This variability is due to the way the moon orbits the earth. The plane of the moon’s orbit is tilted by about 5° relative to the plane of the earth’s around the sun. The orientation of the plane is fixed. 12 lunations is not exactly a year so the plane drifts relative to the earth. We all know that because the calendar date of the new moon varies from year to year.
can happen when the plane of the moon’s orbit crosses the plane of the
earth’s. This happens 24 times each year. However, in only two months
of the year is there a chance that the earth, sun, and moon will
properly align. At other times the crossing is not oriented correctly.
The figure at the left shows how the orbits of the moon and sun
intersect during totality. Clicking on the figure will show a brief
movie of the eclipse occurring.
2008 two solar eclipses will occur (Feb 7 and Aug 1) and two lunar
eclipses (Feb 21 and Aug 16). Not every year has all four events. This movie shows the moon's path
between Nov 2007 and Aug 2008. It slows to show the Feb 7 and
August 1 eclipses. At other new moons the moon is above or below
the plane of the sun.
during these “Eclipse Months” there are no guarantees. One of the
caveats is that the orbit of the moon is an ellipse not a circle. Thus
the moon is sometimes closer and sometimes further away. If it is just
slightly further away the moon will not completely cover the brightest
parts of the sun. This causes an “annular” eclipse.
While eclipse addicts such as myself only focus on the area of totality the shadow is more complex. than just a simple shadow. If you look at the shadow of your hand on a sunny day you will notice the edges are indistinct.
the sun is not a point source of light, one edge of the sun is
illuminating areas that are hidden by the other. Similarly only a
narrow band on the earth is fully in the shadow of the moon. In the
rest some portion of the sun remains visible. These areas experience a
partial eclipse. In 2008 this partial eclipse extended from the center
line in Russia all the way to southern France, Greece, and Israel!
The track of the shadow over the earth varies greatly. Since the plane of the moon’s orbit varies relative to the tilt of the earth, and the direction to the sun, the path of totality varies. The path repeats in regular cycles discussed here .
Photographing Solar Eclipses
Viewing a Solar Eclipse
|Don’t want to travel to
exotic locations to see one of these? Miss the 2017 Eclipse?
Don't worry. On April 8, 2024 the track will be accessible by car. The track will enter the US in Texas, pass through the Midwest, and finally exit in New England.
Just want to stay at home in San Jose? You are going to have a wait! The next total eclipse visible from San Jose is in 2252.
to book quickly. The two eclipses following the 2017 eclipse will both
be in South America ( 2019,
2021 eclipse will be in Antarctica! The logistics will be easier if
you go with a group. The two companies I recommend are TravelQuest
International and MWT
Associates. Others are in the business, but I can personally vouch
for these two.