The July 2010 Total Solar Eclipse Webcast
Last July 11, 2010, a total solar eclipse arced across the southern Pacific Ocean, blotting out the sun and offering stunning views to skywatchers, some of whom ventured to remote islands or rode cruise ships just to see the event.
Not everyone can spare the time and money to go on eclipse expeditions though. Good thing, one can still chase eclipses , thanks to webcasts available over the Internet which were made possible through the great efforts of astronomers and eclipse-chasers who went to the ends of the earth to catch this spectacular event 😀
Seeing an eclipse on your computer screen can’t possibly match catching sight of the black sun in person, of course but experiencing the eclipse online can still give you a glimpse of one of nature’s rarest phenomena. You’ll also feel the thrill of the hunt – because eclipse-watching over the Web, like eclipse-watching in person, involves more than a little bit of persistence and luck.
A fellow amateur astronomer, Thilina Heenatigala from Sri Lanka, was kind enough to share a list of web-streams which he compiled so that everyone can watch the eclipse live. Unfortunately, due to flu I was not able to take screen shots of the web stream 😦 The following captures were made by Thilina himself which came from the live web stream via a group from Wakayama University at Hao (French Polynesia).
The central part of the moon’s shadow touched down around 2:15 p.m. ET Sunday, zoomed over the ocean, hit the French Polynesian island of Tatakoto around 2:45 p.m. and passed over Easter Island’s throngs starting at 4:08 p.m. ET. The eclipse finished up over Chile and Argentina, near the southernmost tip of South America, at 4:51 p.m. ET.
The total phase of the eclipse lasted only a few minutes at most. The partial phase, during which the moon slowly covered up the sun’s disk and then retreated, lasted much longer – about an hour and a half on each side of totality on Easter Island, for instance.
I also found some beautiful images and videos of the eclipse online. Those were taken and documented by eclipse-chasers which came from all over the world 😀
Viewing a total solar eclipse, even just on your computer 😛 is really an astounding experience. Hopefully I could also watch the event live with my own eyes soon 😀
video and image credits:
(web captures) http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-eclipse1/v3
(high-res eclipse images) Bill Kramer http://www.eclipse-chasers.com/tse2010.html
(video) David Makepeace http://www.eclipseguy.com