Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse from the South Pacific - Nov 14, 2012

Date/Time - local ship's time
Start: Nov 14, 2012 6:49AM
Finish: Nov 14, 2012 8:12AM
Location: On the totality track south of New Caledonia, South PacificPosition: 25° 23' 9" S 166° 57' 17" E
Observers: on board the Paul Gauguin cruise ship

I observed a total solar eclipse from the pool deck of the cruise ship Paul Gauguin, as part of a TravelQuest tour group. Rick Fienberg and Bill Kramer, in cooperation with Captain Ante-Toni Mirkovic decided to turn the ship just before 1st Contact in order to avoid any clouds from obscuring the view of the Sun. This proved to be a good move, since we were slowly sailing away from the clouds in the area, and yet continued to stay within the maximum totality centreline.

1st Contact 6:57:25AM
2nd Contact 8:01:25AM
3rd Contact 8:04:27AM
4th Contact 9:16:52AM

Totality lasted 3 minutes.  A few minutes before 2nd Contact, the temperature started to drop, and the light levels were greatly reduced.  A dramatic darkening occurred during totality (2nd Contact to 3rd Contact).  During totality, coronal streamers were apparent visually, although Bailey's Beads were not easily observed during this eclipse.

About 10 minutes before 2nd Contact, Venus was visible to the left of the Sun, and then as darkening continued, Jupiter was also visible equidistant between Venus and the Sun.

I stopped observing and photographing the eclipse shortly after 3rd Contact.

Temperature measurements taken on the Pool Deck before, during and after totality. Readings taken with a Kestrel 4500 personal weather station one metre above the ship's deck.

7:00AM 24.0ºC
7:20AM 22.0ºC
7:39AM 20.9ºC
7:55AM 20.5ºC
8:25AM 21.3ºC
12:20PM 20.4ºC

Temperature difference was 3.5ºC, which is much lower than expected.  Obviously the mild climate near the ocean's surface resulted in less daytime heating, and therefore less temperature range resulted for this eclipse.

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