Skiing + Solar Eclipse on Same Trip - Mission Accomplished

Postby Tony Crocker Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:00 pm

http://www.eclipse-city.com/index.php?t ... page=10087

The July 11, 2010 total solar eclipse ends around the far southern Patagonia resort town of El Calafate. http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/so ... pFull.html Chances of seeing it from there are poor, as the sun is 1 degree over the horizon in the direction of the Andes in mid-winter. However, the above tour operator is offering an optional flight above the likely clouds. Anyone considering this tour should reserve the flight IMHO.

I have already reserved a French Polynesia cruise for next July, as soon as it was offered last fall. But the above tour is by far the cheapest I have seen offered for this eclipse. The core program is just 5 days including time in Buenos Aires. And it offers more flexibility than most. There are several optional extensions, including skiing in Bariloche. But it's easy to do just the tour, then arrange skiing on your own. They will even let you just reserve the eclipse flight if you can get to El Calafate on your own (probably not so easy given supply and demand).

Another interesting point about next year's eclipse is its coincidence with the World Cup Soccer Final. The game will begin as the eclipse approaches French Polynesia and likely end about the time of the eclipse sunset near El Calafate.
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Re: Skiing and 2010 Solar Eclipse on Same Trip

Postby Tony Crocker Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:14 pm

The timing of the eclipse is earlier in the ski season than I would prefer in SA. But once as far south as El Calafate, it might not be that hard to go to Ushuaia to ski Cerro Castor. From web browsing, snow should be reliable there by July and facilities are more modern than other SA ski areas. Downside is that there's not a lot of steep terrain. http://www.southamericaski.com/view.asp?p=146

Tahiti-based eclipse tourists could go on to New Zealand to ski. But I have the same skepticism about being too early for good snow coverage. This year it would have worked out great though.
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Re: Skiing, Solar Eclipse on Same Trip, Mission Accomplished

Postby Tony Crocker Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:05 pm

I've already posted the ski TR's for New Zealand. Skiing was not what it would have been in 2009, but better than most seasons this early.

The Paul Gauguin departed Bora Bora about 10PM July 9 and spent the next day at sea in order to reach the eclipse path ~150 miles SE of Tahiti by dawn on July 11. Totality began at 8:30AM so everyone was up early. Some of us got up at 4AM because a couple of the astronomers on board were showing us Magellenic clouds and a few other objects only visible in very dark pre-dawn southern skies. By 7AM most of had chosen a viewing spot, in my case by an upper deck railing overlooking some of the higher end equipment on the pool deck.
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As at other eclipses some people made pinhole boards to project crescent shadows. This one of a dragon swallowing the sun is the most elaborate I've ever seen.
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Astronomer Jay Andersen passed out 40 diffraction gratings. I did not get one of these for totality but I shot this view through one of the sun reflection in the ocean during the partial phase.
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Of the 20 people on the 2008 eclipse trip to western China, 9 of us were on the Paul Gauguin.
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Most mornings since I had been in French Polynesia I had noticed "popcorn clouds" which appear and then dissipate rapidly. The unpredictability of these clouds were a challenge for the captain. As we neared second contact the clouds were building so the captain turned the ship to minimize the time they might block the sun. As a result the view of sun was more forward than directly to port as envisioned. So my carefully chosen spot became an issue as you can see in this video. :oops: #-o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b7Fx6JxNtQ
I am indeed the culprit in the blue shirt, subject to much comment for the first 40 seconds of the video and likely for eclipse post-mortems for many years to come. :oops: We lost about 20 seconds to cloud right after the first diamond ring and 2 short breaks later. But we still got a clear 3:30 out of the 4 minutes 1 second possible at our location thanks to the captain's last minute efforts. The Paul Gauguin was maneuvering away from last minute clouds on its 2005 and 2009 eclipse trips also.

I did not have room for a camera tripod this time, and with the early clouds I had trouble finding the sun during totality. I've learned from past experience to put your camera down if you can't do what you want within 10-15 seconds. Besides, there are always expert photographers around who will do a better job anyway. Here's a nicely edited video with some superimposed stills from Bob Stephens:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb8PaTcXwJg

Sky and ship view during totality by David Buchla:
Image

Composite corona by Alson Wong, whom I first met in Egypt in 2006:
Image

I got a great view with with my image stabilizer binoculars of 3rd contact beads, chromosphere and prominences, here photographed by Alson Wong:
Image

The prominences were a pleasant surprise as solar activity is still fairly low. But it's not zero like during last year's eclipse. Corona still has a solar minimum appearance with the polar brushes.

Another highlight of this eclipse was that this was the first time I've seen shadow bands. They are very hard to photograph, haven't seen any pics from the cruise even though most people saw them on white walls on the port side or the front side of the smokestack. On some of the Polynesian atolls shadow bands were projected onto a thin cloud layer.
Image
These are the lines tangent to the the diamond ring point on the sun. No one remembered seeing this phenomenon on clouds before, though eventually someone found a similar picture (not recognized then) from Turkey in 2006.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,497K in 2016-17
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