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Programmer: Bill Kramer
Last update: April 17 2015

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Eclipse Chaser Reports

A round corona with several bright prominences was a dazzling view for those lucky enough to be under the right conditions. The inner corona was very bright and evenly distributed out to half a lunar radius with a helmut structure visible above a prominence that appeared around third contact. The corona was visible out to about three lunar diameters in all directions with five spikes extending another two diameters faintly visible in binoculars. At second contact several bright prominences could be seen with one arching across the chromosphere. The bright prominence at third contact pointed towards the first beads for those along the central most part of the path and appeared as if detached by some observers. It was a flowery eye in the sky and most lovely to behold.

Most eclipse chasers were in positions along the start of the eclipse path in the northeastern part of Australia. Others were in cruise ships, also along the early part of the eclipse path, between New Zealand and New Caledonia. And there was one dedicated eclipse flight out of New Zealand that intercepted the path.

On land there were variable reports. The coastal area from Cairns to Port Douglas was hosting thousands of visitors who had mixed weather conditions. Variable cloud cover obscured the view for some and provided extreme drama for others. There are reports of those that scrambled to new locations the night before and met with success and at least one dash to a helicopter to get above the cloud cover. It was a dicey chase and large groups found themselves at the mercy of the weather.

At sea most faired better. Cruise ships with dedicated instructions to get to a clear viewing area were successful in finding perfect conditions. Dan McGlaun was on board the Celebrity Millennium. He reported seeing 3 and a half minutes of totality in clear sky. Eclipse-Chasers webmaster Bill Kramer and many others on the Paul Gauguin reported completely clear conditions. Unfortunately not all cruise ships were a complete success. Those cruise ships hoping for the best or with out clear sky directives did not fair so well. There was one reported ship that missed the zone of totality by just tens of kilometers as they battled winds and seas to try and get there. Another cruise ship mysteriously remained in position as clouds obscured the view.

On board the Paul Gauguin cruise ship, Chuck Darrow set up an all sky camera and video recorded the eclipse. It really was 3 minutes and one second - seemed like 15 seconds. Here is the link to the video.

In the air near New Zealand was John Beattie. Here is his report to the solar eclipse mailing list:

Thanks to superb EFLIGHT 2012 software loaned by Glenn, eflight 2012 was a great success with 4 minutes 30 seconds of totality at 35,000 feet!

C2 was 21:33:00 UT almost exactly and C3 was 21:37:30 UT almost exactly, at approx. 34.37s 177.52w as projected. Solar elevation was about 59 degrees.

We were on board a gorgeous King Air 350i turboprop provided by Golden Wings Ltd of Nelson, New Zealand, piloted by Capt. Peter Oberschneider and First Officer Alistair Matthews. Golden Wings is just entering the charter business and in fact we were their first commercial customers.

Here's the final eflight 2012 plan projecting mid-intercept at 21:35:00 UT, as executed...

http://eflight2012.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/eflight-213500-ka350-lan-gl.pdf

...except we reached initial point A ahead of schedule so we flew the shadow view and totality run slower than 290 knots airspeed so duration of totality was "only" :) 4m30s; and flight duration turned out to be 3h30m instead of 2h30m, departing Auckland 19:28 UT and arriving Gisborne 22:58 UT. We had switched earlier Gisborne-totality-Gisborne plan to Auckland-totality-Gisborne.

Participants were Craig Small, George Sieg, and myself from USA; Florence Yeung from Tahiti; and Gavin Logan (contact person for Auckland promotion of the flight), Oreste Pinto, and Maranu Gascoigne of New Zealand.

Plus participant-in-spirit Glenn without whom we never could have done it!

The links below will take you to blogs, videos, and other reports submitted by eclipse chasers to the SEML or this site.

Links to external websites

Maitland Downs Australia - SAROS group
Joe Cali - composite reports from Australia
CNN picture gallery
Wetherby Station - Alson Wong
The Outback - Ben Cooper
MCKAY CAY, GREAT BARRIER REEF - Patrick Poitevin
Australia near Mareeba - Richard Hole
New Zealand animation - Robert Brown (video)
Above the Clouds - Jay Pasachoff
Paul Gauguin 3rd contact by Melissa Kramer (video)
Mareeba, Queensland - Stig Linander
Stratospheric view of eclipse from balloon (video)
Maitland Downs - Glenn Schneider
Palmer River Roadhouse - Northern Explorer Tours / Eclipse-Reisen Group.
Pacific Dawn Cruise ship - Mark Sukhija (video)
SAROS group video
Queensland aerial views (video)
Eclipse video from Constantine Emmanouilidi
Palm Cove - Queensland (video)
Australia - Joerg Schoppy
Port Douglas - Tora Greve
Pacific Jewel - a near miss

List presented in random order



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