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Programmer: Bill Kramer
Last update: April 17 2015

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Eclipse Reports

The March 20th 2015 eclipse was a challenge. Precisely timed air intercepts with a variety of commercial aircraft, remote Svalbard, and the Faroe Islands each presented eclipse chasers with obstacles, weather questions, and in some cases, difficult circumstances (hiring a gun man to protect from polar bears is just one example).

Various reports are appearing on social media indicating that much of the Faroe Islands was under cloud cover during the total phase of the eclipse while Svalbard had amazingly clear sky. Aircraft intercept reports indicate that the conditions were great except a few reported having an ice build up on the windows. Friendly eclipse chasers shared windows to allow all an excellent view.

These are exerts from the SEML, a public forum for solar eclipse enthusiasts.


Svalbard report exerts:

We had an exceptional eclipse on Svalbard, with crystal-clear skies, light winds, and bitter temperatures. The sun was perfectly positioned in a knotch in the hils to the south, while prominent snow-mantled mountains set off the north. Most comments were directed to the corona, which was a stunning solar-max prototype. I counted 8 helmet plumes as seen through binoculars, but could have added more. Two prominences stood out on the top and left and several minor ones completed the lunar neckace. We saw shadowbands on ingress and egress, for about 15 seconds at each contact. Temperatures fell about 6 degrees, from -16 to -22C, according to one measurement.

Those using computers for control were usually frustrated , as the temperatures took their toll on screens and processors. Frozen fingers were a problem as well, but more easily overcome. No polar bears and the dogs on the hill above were silent. The final diamond ring was stunning in the brilliant Arctic transparency. Svalbard definitely had the classiest view in this eclipse, on ground or in the air.

The diamond ring often brings proposals at an eclipse, but we have three weddings today. The magic goes on,,,Jay Anderson (Travel Quest)


Spectacular success from near Longyearbyen. Temp -7 F with great shadow bands before and after totality. Paul D. Maley (Ring of Fire Expeditions)


Faroe Islands

Here at the Vagar airport in the Faroe Islands, we caught about 1 min 18 sec of totality, from diamond ring to cloud cover. We had cloud at first contact and rain off and on after that. Rapidly moving clouds, with larger and larger gaps, flowed eastward overhead. In the last 10 minutes prior to totality, the Sun was cloud free...then cloud and cloud steamers moved in during the last minute. We briefly lost the Sun in cloud (screams of "Noooo" rose from the TravelQuest group of 140), but then we saw beads thru cloud. The diamond ring thru cloud (with iridescence) was amazing, the sky around the Sun cleared, and the prominences and corona were stunning. We could see heavy cloud rapidly moving in, and we lost totality about a minute before third contact. About five minutes later, it was raining. - Paul Deans (Travel Quest)

On eclipse morning (Mar. 20), our Spears Travel group were set up at Hotel Færøyar in Torshavn (Faroe Islands) along with hundreds of other people. Although there were some holes in the clouds here and there, the Sun and it's spectacular corona were hidden from view during the 2-minute long total eclipse phase. Eclipse veterans like myself were understandably disappointed, but newbies were thrilled by the appearance of the Moon's shadow on the clouds above and by the rapid darkening of the environment during totality. Oh well! Time to start planning for the next total solar eclipse on 2016 March 09! - Fred Espenak (Spears Travel Group)

I conducted my group at Eidi. We woke up at 3:15 and at 4 o'clock we leaved the Princess Seaways and drove with our van to a location near Eidi which was "perfect" on an unpaved road near an artificial lake with a dam about 1.5 km before Eidi on the right hand side coming from Kollafjordur : no urban light there, no one car with lights on, just sheep and birds (we saw a couple of eagles) but...we didn't see the Sun at all ! What a deception for me but as nobody else in my group had ever seen a TSE they enjoyed the arrival of the umbra, and sure we were in a deep darkness during 2 minutes and 20 seconds... I had settled my tripod with an Astrotrack mount wearing a Canon 70D and a Takahashi FS60 with Solar Eclipse Maestro and the laptop. No image. Desperately I took a video with a 5DMkII but I didn't found the button to engage it just before totality because it was so dark, I had lost my headlamp, and I never make videos with this camera ! So I just have a part of ambience during and after totality when I found the right button :-( Nevertheless I'll go to the next one in Indonesia. - Bernard Durand


Partial Eclipse

A deep partial solar eclipse was visible across Europe and many reported seeing portions of it under variable weather conditions. There have been social media reports of shadow bands observed in the UK and Iceland.

News report A West London school banned classes from watching last Fridays partial eclipse outdoors due to "cultural and religious" reasons, which the school district did not define. This, from the same country that gave us Sir Isaac. A quote from an angry parent: I am extremely upset about it. My child went in having spent an hour preparing and making up her pinhole camera. This is an issue about scientific matters versus religious superstition. I am outraged – is it going to be Darwin next? We will be like mid-America.

Links to external websites

Partial Eclipse from Berlin - Marcellinus Prien
eFlight GoPro video through iced window by David Makepeace
Snow boarding eclipse chaser
eFlight GoPro video by Stefan Meyer
Svalbard - Joe Cali
Svalbard - Jay M. Pasachoff and Allison L. Carter, Williams College
EFlight video by SAROS Expeditions (Spanish)
Faroe Islands commemorative stamps
eFlight Totality video by Stefan Meyer

List presented in random order



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