24Feb2016

Dave’s Trip Eclipses Them All

Dave Reneke and Eclipse

Dave Reneke wearing protective solar glasses with an inset of an actual past solar eclipse

A total eclipse of the Sun is arguably nature’s most spectacular and awe-inspiring phenomenon and people who have seen them want to see more, some travelling overseas for the event.

One of those is Australian amateur astronomer, Dave Reneke, writer and publicist for Australasian Science magazine. Dave will be travelling north this week to Papua New Guinea, then onto the Indonesian Islands, as guest lecturer aboard the ‘Oceanic Discoverer’ owned by the Coral Princess Cruise Line as the total solar eclipse casts an incredible shadow across the region for over 3 minutes on March 9.

“I’ll be holding daytime astronomy lectures onboard, night sky tours on deck and explaining what to expect when the day of the eclipse arrives.” Dave said. “It’s a free all expenses paid 14 day holiday and a great way for me to again witness this amazing sight.”

During totality the sky becomes dark very quickly, confusing birds and other animals. Stars instantly appear in the sky and it gets strangely cooler. The birds disappear from view and flowers have been known to close up, expecting nightfall. Freaky stuff!

Solar Telescopes Available

Dave will be using special DAYSTAR FILTERS Solar Telescopes from the USA donated  to his group Mid North Coast Astronomy by Jen Winter and the crew. These scopes will be used on land to show passengers and locals the Sun’s volatile surface features including sunspots plus allowing direct and clear views of solar prominences etc.

Eclipse

An example of what will bee seen during our Solar Eclipse Cruise 2016. Here is a total solar eclipse image by Jacques Guertin. This is the kind of view you would get through a telescope or binoculars.Cr J.Guertin

“All around you the crowds begin to cheer and clap – that’s when you know ‘it’s on’! Very few natural events invoke the sort of feelings an eclipse does. You never want it to stop,” Dave said.

Total eclipses of the Sun in a particular area are rare and unfortunately this time Australia misses out. The next chance to see one from the mainland won‘t be until 22 July 2028 over Sydney.

Dave and his group Mid North Coast Astronomy will also be at Laurieton Riverwalk Markets on March 20 with images of the eclipse and doing general safe solar viewing for locals and visitors.

Where Will The Eclipse be Visible?

To see the total eclipse in March of 2016, you must be within the path of totality (shaded in blue on the map above); and to see a total eclipse lasting for a decent length of time, you want to be towards the centre of the path (centre-line).

However, you don’t need to be at the exact centre; the duration falls off very slowly from the middle, and more quickly at the edges. Anywhere in the middle third of the path will let you see a total eclipse within about 90% of the duration on the centre-line.

Cruise promo

I’ll be on-board the Oceanic Discoverer for the entire 14 days of the cruise

In terms of where to be along the path, this isn’t quite as important; however east is generally better, as the point of maximum eclipse is out in the Pacific. The shortest duration seen in Indonesia is 1 minute 53 seconds on Pagai-Utara island in the west; and the longest is 3 minutes 20 seconds in Halmahera in the east.

To recap: The total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Indonesia including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, and from locations in the Pacific Ocean. Observers in northern and eastern Australia, in South Asia, and in East Asia will be able to see a partial eclipse.

3. Eclipse Montage

A montage of what the eclipse will look like

The eclipse will begin at 23:19 UTC on March 8, 2016, and its maximum point will take place at 01:59 UTC on March 9, 2016. Totality will last for 4 minutes and 9 seconds.

Regions seeing, at least, a partial eclipse:  South/East Asia, North/West Australia, Pacific, Indian Ocean

An alternate look at the path of the 2016 Solar Eclipse:

“This eclipse is a very rare and beautiful phenomenon, and we need to be able to turn it into an event that will attract both local and foreign tourists – especially considering that such eclipses will only happen again in 250 years time,” said the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Indroyono Soesilo to the press in Jakarta on Tuesday, July 7, 2015.

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