Last Updated:
2017 Jan 15 15:49 UTC

Source file:


TA details
Magazine index
Our history
Contact details
Discovery procedure
Meeting reports
Youtube channel
Members' services
E-circular archive
On-line charts
Chart catalogue
Special publications
Back issues
Advertising rates
Deep sky
Gamma Ray Bursts
Minor planets
JPL Horizons
IAU Central Bureau
Minor Planet Center
Heavens Above
Further links
The eclipse of 1998 February 26 was widely seen around the Caribbean and there are many good sources of pictures and reports on the web including:

The images which appear on this page are taken from a video made by Nick James. He was situated on a beach on the northeast coast of the Peninsula de Paraguana in Venezuela. The video was taken using a Sony TR-3100 Hi-8 camcorder. Various clips from this tape are available in RealMedia format.

Click on the small images to download full-sized JPEG pictures.

On eclipse morning we left Caracas at 2 a.m. in order to catch a charter flight to Punto Fijo. From there we drove to Coro for breakfast and then back on to the Peninsula de Paraguana. We arrived at the observing site at about 11 a.m. and had plenty of time to set up and check our equipment.

When we arrived the sky had clouded over completely. This was not good news! As the partial phase started the sky began to clear and by the time John Mason did a piece to camera the sky was cloud-free. The head-gear is an important part of eclipse tradition and there is some evidence that the hat did scare the clouds away.

John Mason's lucky hat

John had brought along a light meter calibrated in lux (lumens/m^2) which was more used to measuring the output of streetlights in Basingstoke. He would use this closer to totality in order to determine the light levels during the eclipse. This data should prove useful when predicting what time the streetlights will come on in Cornwall during the next eclipse!

After a long partial phase the last glimmers of the sun began to die away and the light level fell below 100 lux. At this time dramatic shadow-bands appeared on the beach. The shadow-bands were an extraordinary sight since they were very dynamic and very distinct. John Mason was the first to yell "shadow bands" since he was looking down at his light meter.

18:09:12 UTC

With the Sun now completely covered the pearly Corona was clearly visible. Light levels had dropped to 3 lux but the shouts and screams from the assembled group of observers would not diminish for many minutes. The Corona showed a characteristically boxy form and an amazing amount of detail was visible in binoculars.

A large red prominence was visible at about 12 o'clock and this added to the awesome beauty of the event.

18:09:26 UTC

One of the advantages of the TR-3100 is that the user has full control of the exposure and aperture settings in a way that is similar to an SLR still camera. This allowed me to reduce the exposure to show detail in the inner corona and the prominences.

18:09:58 UTC

Three planets were easily visible during the eclipse. Jupiter and Mercury were near to the Sun and are visible in this frame. The camera was set to a long exposure (1/3 sec) and zoomed out. The sky is still blue even during totality! Much further from the Sun was Venus and this planet was visible for a full five minutes before the start of totality.

I didn't see any other objects during the eclipse but I must admit that I wasn't looking too hard!

18:10:34 UTC

At about 40 seconds before the end of the eclipse an impressive prominence appeared at the 6 o'clock position and the light level rose to 9 lux. Another prominence-like feature was seen at 4 o'clock.

18:12:31 UTC

With a few seconds to go the bright red Chromosphere appeared at the 5 o'clock position. This was the warning to stop using binoculars and return to naked-eye observation. The diamond ring was not far away.

18:12:55 UTC

Finally, just after 18:13 UTC the exit diamond ring appeared. Various people before the eclipse had predicted a long exit and we weren't disappointed. The diamond ring lasted for several seconds before it broke into multiple beads. Totality was over and the light level began to climb. Shadow bands were seen again and they were as spectacular as the entry bands but did not seem to last quite as long.

18:13:02 UTC

Observing the exit diamond ring


More lucky hats?

Webmaster: Peter Meadows