Eclipse report from Jay Pasachoff

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, May 10, 2013

Credit: Ruben Kier
Today’s annular eclipse was visible widely across Australia and other areas of the South Pacific, and early reports have it as a big success. I take pleasure in sharing the report sent by Jay Pasachoff, astronomer at Williams College and a longtime contributor to Astronomy:

We can report good success in observing 4 minutes 20 seconds of annularity at the eclipse today, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, Australia. On one side of the road, there was a turnoff to a hill that carried a radio repeater, and about 100 people had gathered there in the very early morning in anticipation of the 8:05 a.m. annularity, not to mention the beginning of the eclipse at 6:55 a.m. A wide variety of telescopic and photographic equipment was on view. Most of the people present were Australian amateurs or tourists. Several teams of Japanese amateur astronomers also were deployed north of Tennant Creek, though not at this location.

There were clouds in the sky, and much of the eclipse was viewed through thin clouds, though rarely after the first few minutes was the Sun obscured. The clouds thinned considerably before annularity, which were observed in a pretty clear sky. The air cooled noticeably when the Sun was almost entirely covered, and the shadows sharpened because they were being cast by a thin crescent of Sun.

We now look forward to the next total eclipse of the Sun, which will be visible from Gabon, Africa, on November 3. Another annular eclipse, on April 29, 2014, will have its annularity visible only from an inaccessible ocean spot off Antarctica, but Australia will see about 60 percent coverage.

If you have any images from the annular eclipse, submit them to the Reader Photo Gallery or email them to

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