Monday, November 12, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse 2012 And Beyond

There is Total Solar Eclipse happening on early Wednesday morning 14 November 2012 from 04:35am *Singapore* time.  On solid land, this eclipse is only visible in north eastern Australia.

This is a great eclipse animation by Michael Ziler:


Official NASA information about the eclipse can be found here (pdf).

Singapore's eclipse-chasing couple Joo Beng and Janet will be joining many others on a cruise ship to catch it. Wishing them all the best and clear skies!

Since this is not visible in Singapore, I assume most of you will be curious to find out when a *Total* Solar Eclipse will be visible right here in our country. Seeing something so amazing in the comfort of our own country without the need to travel overseas. That should be something worth waiting for and marking it down in our calender. Perhaps it might even bring more tourism dollars than F1? :P

Using the amazing NASA Javascript Solar Eclipse Explorer, this is the date I found:

Drum roll please ....

Saw that? Year 2168! 156 years from now!

The previous occurrence is 1826. So if anyone alive today tell you they saw a Total Solar Eclipse in Singapore, please ask him/her to submit an application to Guinness World Record for being the oldest person in the history of mankind.

How about the next after 2168? Even more scary. Hitting the search limit of year 3000 in NASA's software, I cannot even find another occurrence!

So the implication is clear. If you want to see it (or see it again) in your lifetime, you have to plan to travel overseas.

This is an awesome NASA map to help you in your planning. Look for the dark blue areas and the associated dates beside it. You can access the bigger original version here:

I guess 21 August 2017 in USA will be a good opportunity as the eclipse sweeps from coast to coast.

From the same map, you can see there is an Annular Solar Eclipse (red area) sweeping across Singapore! And Singapore is very near the greatest eclipse point. Not as spectacular as total, but still amazing. So let me make a note to myself now..."don't party too hard on Christmas in 2019 and remember to wake up the next day before noon!" :)

UPDATE 15 Nov 2012:

Singaporean eclipse chaser did it again! This is his report as first posted in Singastro. Click on the link to see the amazing photos!


"Experienced the Solar Eclipse on 14 Nov 2012 from somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, between Fiji and New Zealand on board a cruise ship called the Celebrity Millenium. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I decided on this approach owing to the eclipse path, giving us a viewing time of about 3 and a half minutes. I was pretty apprehensive at first, since the combination of wind, the rocking of the ship, the wooden decks, are all an unstable platform for photography. The ship had the advantage of manourverability, so cloud and weather was certainly a concern, but not as much as from land. Having been through this, I would highly recommend this option now if a similar opportunity presents itself.

I managed to image the eclipse with a Canon 60D through a William Optics 72mm F/6 fluorite refractor. A first for me was being able to capture some prominences during 2nd contact. Previous attempts were either of insufficient resolution or unfocused. Unfortunately, I was so busy trying to capture the corona, thinking that 3.5 minutes was a lot of time, that I totally missed 3rd contact. But all in all, I was very pleased with the results. I kept all my shutter speeds to above 1/500 and just increased the ISO from 100 to 800+ where needed. Here's a preliminary photo and will upload more when I have processed them and have access to a better internet connection!

Best regards!
Joo Beng."

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