Sunday, 8 February 2015

Eclipse chasing in the Arctic?

This March, a total solar eclipse takes place in the North Atlantic. Land viewing locations are limited. The Faroe Islands (between Ireland and Iceland) are a good place to visit, but the weather is a gamble. Another landmass that enjoys totality is Svalbard. This location is more difficult to reach and even more difficult to get accommodation - it is not a tourist destination under normal circumstances.

I am NOT going to this eclipse. Not by land, by sea, nor in the air. There are still some vendors with space available if this sort of eclipse travel sparks an interest. The thing is, the weather is not favorable. Thus the best bet is in the air. And chasing eclipses from the air is an expensive proposition. Flights will be coming in from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, and Iceland. We can only hope they collide!

Even though I will not be there, I can still have fun with the idea of being there. A suite of cartoon/comics about eclipse chasing in the cold are presented online at - enjoy and if you are going, best luck!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Eclipse and Astronomy Cartoons

Many of the cartoons shown at the SEC2014 are now online at:

These cartoons cover a variety of topics related to eclipse chasing. Some poke fun at eclipse chasers, others at the situations we find ourselves in, and others at the poorly informed who wonder about the eclipse in a casual way.

If you have ideas for eclipse cartoons, a funny story to relate, or a special request - drop me a line or response to this blog and let me know.

Friday, 7 November 2014


We had a lot of fun at the Solar Eclipse Conference (SEC2014) in New Mexico, USA. The Sacramento Peak Observatory opened their doors to us for a two day pre-conference and to observe the partial solar eclipse. Very clear sky up on the mountain and great presentations made for the perfect venue to kick off the eclipse conference.
Sacramento Peak National Solar Observatory, partial solar eclipse watching!

The last two days of the conference were in Cloudcroft NM, a resort town near Sacramento Peak. More presentations and discussion took place highlighting current trends in eclipse photography, various projects underway, solar science, and planning for the next eclipses.

The web pages for the conference are being actively updated to include presentation materials such as powerpoint and pdf files from the various presenters. The on going support is appreciated!

Also, keep an eye out! Soon the SEC2018 details will begin to appear.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Lunar Eclipse October 2014

Got up early to see the total lunar eclipse expecting clouds and rain. Instead I was rewarded with a nice clear sky, freshly "washed" by hard rain. It was chilly and humid, but the Moon hung brightly in the sky.

My new binoculars, 15x70, saw their first umbra - just the Earth's on the Moon and not from the Moon. Still the view was fantastic. These big eyes will work well for a TSE! Hefty and waterproof (so they say, not going to test it) they are a bit much to hold steady for long. But for quick views they work fine and I do have a tripod adapter.

The Moon moved to an area that I could no longer see it from our front area (trees) and I had to go out in the parking lot (well lit) to see it. The view was great. To the left one could pick out Uranus with the binoculars and I was please to see it appeared in the image linked in hi-res below.

Image of total lunar eclipse 1.8s exposure with Sony 5N on tripod.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Tecumseh and the Eclipse of 1806

I updated the webpage with the story about Tecumseh and the 1806 total solar eclipse. Maps showing that location of the village used by Tecumseh and his brother were not in the central path are now included. The location of the village would have shown a 99% total and while impressive, it does not have the impact of a total solar eclipse.

Eclipses viewed along the edge of the central path are prolonged diamond rings. A 99% eclipse can be full of beads as the Sun shines through valleys and is blocked by mountains. One might also catch a glimpse of the corona on the opposite side of the beads/sliver of sunlight however it is difficult and potentially dangerous.

In 2017 a total solar eclipse will cross the USA. Should your home location be in the 90% or greater range plan to move to the central path for the full eclipse effect. Remember, you will see a 90% and greater partial in the path of totality!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Tossed the frames

The frames interface was giving grief to myself and others, so it has been tossed/removed/deleted in favor for the iPad/tablet interface table style.

All entries to now go to the Map.

I am always open to ideas to improve the webpages. Just let me know what you think.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

2016 Ideas

We have been exploring new ideas for the 2016 TSE since the ball was dropped on the Hawaiian cruise idea. So far a couple of cruises have popped up, all in the Indonesian waters.

I still feel that a cruise ship is the best way to see this particular eclipse. Primarily for the mobility to avoid clouds. Mobility on land is somewhat hampered in many areas. An eclipse in the morning favors the weather as the cooling effect will not have as much influence on cloud formation. Thus there is a good chance those on land will have no problem, but just to make sure, I prefer having the mobility built in to the platform.

Below is a link to the cruise my wife and I will be joining. It is being supported by Sky & Telescope (a popular astronomy themed magazine).

One advantage of doing a cruise is the ability to visit numerous islands and locations without the issues of air travel. Our last visit to Indonesia included tours of many sites. But what we remember the most is waiting at airports since that was a large portion of the time spent. We did see some great things and met lots of wonderful people, but the airports were a hassle, and we imagine it being worse now that security is much bigger issue that it was in 1983.

Links to cruises and other travel options for the 2016 Total Solar Eclipse can be viewed at the 2016 Eclipse Chaser web site.