March 20, 2015


Totality (Click on photos to enlarge)

Today we had a spring equinox total eclipse in the polar region. Just an amazing sight, hard to describe it. For an hour the moon slowly moved over the sun during the partial phase. You could tell when totality was near, the light level dropped and we saw shadow bands on the flat snow. The bands are caused by atmospheric disturbances and are similar to the waves of light at the bottom of a pool. There is “second contact” when the moon is almost covering the sun and you see a bright flare at the side of the sun. Then it was total. It was a surreal sight, like seeing a black sun surrounded by darkness. I was surprised how dark it got, like a dim twilight. I couldn’t see the camera settings at first and it stayed in this darkness for over 2 minutes. People cheered, but most seemed in awe of the sight. The man next to me said he could see how ancient people could be completely frightened by the sight. Weather was perfect, bright, sunny, no clouds. But very cold. -17 C in the morning, which is 1.4 deg F. I think it didn’t get much warmer even around noon. Hope I can see another one. (Click on photos to enlarge).

Seconds before totality.

Seconds before totality.

The scene in Longyearbyen.

The scene in Longyearbyen.

"Third contact", when the moon begins to uncover the sun.

“Third contact”, when the moon begins to uncover the sun.

2 degrees F, waiting for the start.

2 degrees F, waiting for the start.

Comments (12) | More: Blog

12 Responses to “TOTALITY!”

  1. jo ann paganetti says:

    Beautiful photos of Norway and Australia.
    And envy your dog sled ride! Much, much better than the subway. J

  2. Robert van Houten says:

    Great shots Stan. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Lance Diskan says:

    Thanks for sharing these spectacular images – and your verbal descriptions of the overall environment. Makes one wonder about ‘celestial mechanics’ that we on Earth are so perfectly located to be able to witness such an awesome cosmic event. Another set of exceptional images to add yo your already-outstanding portfolio. Bravo !

  4. Arlene Garelick says:

    What a thrill it must have been to witness in person. I’m so grateful that you captured it so beautifully, and that Frank Gruber shared it with us mortals on Facebook. Thank you, Stan.

  5. These are awesome shots Stan. What an experience! How dedicated you are to travel for this event, how talented you are to catch it so perfectly, and how kind you are to share it with us mere mortals! Thank you.

  6. Frank Gruber says:

    Amazing, Stan, thanks for making the trip for the rest of us. F.

  7. wow! impressive, stan! i would have loved to see that but your photos are the next best thing.

  8. Joel Weisberg says:

    gorgeous! so glad you got to experience it!

  9. Amy says:

    Absolutely amazing. Fantastic photos!

  10. Phil says:

    Stan, Incredible images many thanks for sharing these.

  11. Margaret Honda says:

    Totally awesome! These are amazing photographs. I’ve never seen images like this of a total eclipse. So glad you were there!

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