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TSE 2012
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November 14 - Eclipse Day


After nearly a week of intermittent rain in Papua New Guinea and two days of sailing south with barf bags along the handrails of the ship, we arrived back in Cairns, Australia.  The TravelQuest team included eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson so our group had an advantage as far as weather planning.  Based on Jay's forecasts the prospects were good for clear weather off the coast - provided we were in the right spot.  His plan was to maneuver the ship to cross the center line near Green Island while steaming north at minimum speed.
approximate track of MV Orion during 2012 eclipse

This was a nearly sunrise eclipse (C1 was about 10 minutes after sunrise).  We woke about 4 AM to scattered clouds and a great view of the southern Milky Way.  The ship was still heading south at this point.

sunrise on eclipse

The cloud cover was more extensive on the south end of the range.  As we turned to head north along our track the clouds progressively became fewer and more scattered.

Movie of Eclipse from YouTube

This shows the shadow of the moon as it crossed our site.

The shadow approaches from over my left shoulder. As it crosses the sun the moon enters the total eclipse.  Watch the lower right part of the horizon.  You will be able to see the shadow as it fills the sky.  Eventually it blocks the sun all the way to the horizon.

After about 1 minute into the eclipse I had to shift the camera.  You can now see the left side of the shadow.  As C3 approaches the sky to the left lightens.  As the shadow crosses the sun the total eclipse ends.

The island in the picture toward the end of the eclipse is Green Island.

For those who do not want to sit through a 2 minute eclipse plus explanation here is a 2x version of the same.

Stills of the Eclipse

While one camera was taking the movie my 20Da was taking pictures using my 300mm Zoom lens (35mm equivalent of 480mm).  This is not as zoomed in as the telescope setup I used in Libya and on Easter Island. For this eclipse I chose to hand hold the camera to avoid past problems with photographing on boats.  It was possible to hand hold the camera with OK results (just OK). 

This was not my best eclipse work.  Unfortunately the camera was set to ISO 1600, which on a 20Da means very noisy pictures.  Still I managed to capture what was happening even if I did not end up with publication quality photos.

If you are planning to photograph an eclipse then you have to do three activities at the same time; look at the sun, change the exposure, and take pictures. Some dry runs and my experience in 2010 told me that if I ran fully manually I could pick two of the three choices. I decided to use my programmable shutter to automatically take the pictures and allow me as much time as possible to look at the eclipse.  Thus I needed (in theory) to only dial the shutter speed and while enjoying the view.  That mostly worked, but I am considering full computer control for the 2013 eclipse (like I did in 2006).  I still spent too many brain cells on the camera and not enough on watching. The next eclipse will be about 1 minute so all of my actions will need to be well considered and practiced.

The corona pictures are a mix of early and late images.  Since the brightness difference between the prominences and outer corona are so great, any single shot will only capture a portion of the complete experience.  Other portions of the picture will be underexposed or overexposed (some times grossly so).  I have ordered the pictures from brightest to dimmest.  Try to just look at the newly added detail and ignore the over exposed portions.

2nd Contact Prominences

After some fumbling I started taking pictures about 10 seconds after C2 (when totality begins).

2012 eclipse 2nd contact

The sun was clearly very active with several large prominences showing.

Inner Corona 1

2012 Solar Eclipse Inner Corona

slowing the shutter down I start capturing the corona.  Note in these images the corona is much brighter at the 5 o'clock then at other places on the disk.

Inner Corona 2

2012 Solar Eclipse Inner Corona

The entire inner corona is now visible as well as prominences at 6, 3, and 11 o'clock.

Middle Corona

2012 Solar Eclipse mid range corona

The full inner corona is now visible although the brighter portions are now overexposed.

Outer Corona 1

2012 Eclipse Outer Corona

Portions of the outer corona including the streamers are now dimly visible at 3 and 5.

Outer Corona 2

2012 Solar Eclipse Outer Corona

My slowest exposure shows additional streamers at other points along the sun.  The corona was roughly circular with the 4 o'clock side being a little thicker and brighter. Since I was on a moving ship and hand holding this was as slow as I thought I could go.

Pre 3rd contact Prominences

2012 eclipse 3rd contact prom

As 3rd contact approached my view of the 10 o'clock position of the sun exploded in red.  This captures some of what I saw, but does not begin to equal it.

3rd contact

2012 eclipse 3rd contact

The show comes to an end.  Baily's Bead start to appear at the edge of the sun marking the end of the eclipse.


Copyright 2012 Robert J. Hawley, Some Rights Reserved

Creative Commons License

All photos and text concerning the Total Solar Eclipse 2012 were taken
by Robert J. Hawley and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. This permits the non commercial use of the material on this site, either in whole or in part, in other works provided that I am credited for the work.

I have also granted a commercial license for some of the images.