Total Solar Eclipse, 21st July, 2009
Total Solar Eclipse
Position at Totality:
      Latitude:   9 degrees 54 S
      Longitude: 164 degrees 44 W

1st contact:  17:17:51
2nd contact:
      18:15:05, altitude 8.4 degrees
3rd contact:
       18:18:29, altitude 7.6 degrees

Duration of Totality:
       3mins 24 secs  (204 seconds)

Sunset - 27% eclipsed  18:50:30

The Eclipse - a day early!

The total solar eclipse was on the 22nd July - for the rest of the world! The moon's dark umbral shadow crossed India, Bhutan, China and the northern Pacific ocean but when it reached us at the end of its track, just east of the International Date Line, it was the 21st!

Our day started with a beautiful clear blue sky and the keen photographers were out on deck securing their position and setting up their tripods and cameras. By lunchtime we had reached our intended viewing spot and a few wispy clouds joined the enthusiasts.

We had a clear view of first contact but the clouds were starting to appear more frequently so Captain Rajiko manoevered the ship (probably under the guidance of the astronomers onboard) to maximise our viewing. There was a mad frenzy as the enthusiast photographers quickly switched position from the starboard to the port side of the ship.

Then we saw it - the spectacular 'diamond ring' at the onset of totality in a clear blue sky. We watched the approaching clouds with anticipation and at the point of totality they appeared as 'opening arms' below the black sun. There were no clear red prominences, however, one was observed in photos after the event. As the total eclipse passed over we observed another spectacular diamond ring.

We had hoped to see the partially eclipsed sun at sunset so it was a great disappointment that the cloud had continued to thicken. Whilst the sunset was blocked by cloud, there were some amazing red clouds on the opposite direction!

South Pacific