When we saw the dark disk of the moon slip over the sickle-shaped sun, the silvery light and sharp shadows gave way to a cool kind of semi-darkness--the same daytime darkness witnessed by ancient Chinese, Babylonian, and Maya astronomers who strove to predict it--and the very same quiet somber darkness people all over the world have glimpsed since time immemorial. But we were lucky because we knew where and when to go to be bathed in that one-of-a-kind ambience. If you live life without ever having seen the sun go black in the afternoon, then you surely missed a great wonder of the universe!
|A beautiful eclipse--the loveliest I have seen. We saw it under ideal conditions from the Stella Solaris. With typical Greek seamanship, Captain Panorios maneuvered us into just the right position at just the right time. Congratulations to all!|
The corona was glorious--very asymmetrical with a large streamer extending downward towards the southwest. Shorter spikes appeared above the north and south magnetic poles of the sun.
The people aboard the Stella Solaris gasped a loud "Oooh" at the onset of totality as the sky darkened and the corona flashed into view. They applauded and cheered when totality ended. A wonderful experience!
I give the February 26, 1998 total solar eclipse two thumbs-up! The amount of visible red chromosphere was unlike any other eclipse I have seen. And the Captain of the Stella Solaris put us right on the centerline in beautifully clear skies!
|The eclipse was dark, observed in a nearly totally clear sky near the centerline. Photos taken with a 4 inch f/9 refractor seem exceptionally sharp despite fairly large vibration and apparent motion of the Stella Solaris. The coronal equatorial streamers recorded at even 1/4 second seem fairly sharp. Short exposures near second contact show a good sized prominence and extensive chromosphere, a feature also captured in pictures of the diamond ring at third contact. The corona was typical of that of sunspot minimum with sharp polar magnetic brushes and equatorial streamers flaring beyond the ektachrome frame.|
A total experience that no one should miss. Magnificent.
The Sky at Night
BBC TV, London)
A total solar eclipse can not be described in words or captured on film. You have to see the eclipse to appreciate its beauty. You have to experience it to feel the excitement.
This eclipse was the best I have seen. It had it all: a great diamond ring, bright prominences, beautiful coronal streaming and two bright planets, Mercury and Jupiter, close to the sun.
| How do you make the transitory real? How can you make the eclipse magic linger? Try painting or writing right after the experience. Capture your own impression before it too flees.|
--Robin Rector Krupp
We on the Stella Solaris walked the plank to centerline totality about 15 miles east of the aperitif island of Curaçao as eclipse pirates of the Caribbean and saw silver planets spill out of the eclipse treasure chest like pieces of eight while chromospheric rubies bulged from the black lid as three minutes and 42 seconds of time miraculously diminished to a moment.
Caribbean Eclipse Cruise Meteorology
The February 26, 1998 satellite cloud coverage on the Stella Solaris started from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on the afternoon of Monday, February 23. During the previous 24 hours, Southern Florida was subjected to dangerous thunderstorms with hail and even with tornadic winds. The cold front responsible for this weather could be recognized by the towering cumulonimbus clouds in a N-S line off the east coast as we began sailing southward.
As we turned eastward to go around the east coast of Cuba I noticed heavy cumulus clouds over the mountains of Eastern Cuba apparently due to afternoon heating. According to weather maps the Florida cold front was moving slower southeastward through the Bahama Islands and getting weaker. We reached the windward passage before the cold front without even being much aware of it.
On Tuesday and Wednesday (February 24 and 25), while we were crossing the Caribbean Sea, the cold front was analyzed as crossing Hispaniola W to E North of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, greatly weakened by its distance from the severe Florida LOW.
Everyone was surprised when the tail end of the squall line furnished a shower on shipboard only 4 hours before totality on Thursday, February 26. I interpreted it as a southward extension of the old cold front, which was too small and weak to show up on satellite pictures.
After the eclipse, news came from Aruba that probably the same squall line passed there only about an hour before totality, intensified by hilly topography.
From the Stella Solaris, the sky became suddenly very dark as the shadow engulfed the observers. The solar prominences were sensational, followed all too soon, by a diamond ring.
|Dr. Anthony F. Aveni--Archaeoastronomer|
Anthony F. Aveni--an energetic teacher, tireless researcher, prolific author and riveting speaker--
is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy, in particular for his research in the astronomical history of the Maya Indians of ancient Mexico. Dr. Aveni, is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University. He has more than 100 research publications to his credit, including three cover articles in Science magazine and key work in American Scientist, The Sciences and American Antiquity. He has edited and/or authored more than a dozen books on ancient astronomy, including Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks and Cultures, and Ancient Astronomers. His Caribbean Eclipse Cruise lecture topics included "Ancient Caribbean Eclipse Watching" and "Conversing with the Planets".
|Dr. Edward M. Brooks--Eclipse Meteorologist|
Dr. Edward M. Brooks, Professor Emeritus of Fluid Geophysics at Boston College, is recognized as one of the world's leading eclipse meteorologists. For four decades his analyses of meteorological circumstances surrounding forthcoming eclipses have been utilized by professional and amateur astronomers throughout the world. Dr. Brooks has made eclipse meteorology his lifelong specialty. Caribbean Eclipse Cruise passengers attended Dr. Brooks' " Eclipse Weather Briefings" and lectures on ocean climatology, the meteorological bases for long-range forecasting, and "Memorable Eclipses of the Past...And a Few Words About the El Niño Phenomena".
|George T. Keene--Astrophotographer |
George Keene is retired from the Eastman Kodak Company where he was supervisor of the Photo Science Group in the Government Systems Division. An avid stargazer, Keene has designed and constructed several astronomical telescopes for use in astrophotography. Author of many articles on astronomy and photography, Keene was one of the first to cover the subject of astrophotogaphy for the amateur in his book Stargazing with Telescope and Camera. Mr. Keene has received international recognition for his outstanding results in photographing total eclipses of the Sun. His "Voyage to Darkness" 1979 eclipse photo appeared on the April cover of Life magazine. Our eclipse cruise passengers have always found George Keene's skills useful in improving their own eclipse photos using even simple cameras. In addition to his booklet Solar Eclipse Photography prepared for Caribbean Eclipse Cruise passengers, and his lecture "Capturing the Eclipse on Film" Mr. Keene provided one-on-one consultation with passengers recommending films, lenses, and filters to aid both beginning and advanced photographers.
|Dr. Paul H. Knappenberger Jr.--Astronomer, Educator|
Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., President of the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, has successfully combined astronomy, education, and museum administration into a career focused on interpreting the exploration of the universe to the broadest possible audience. One of his most recent efforts involves "virtual " museum experiences via new computer technologies. Among other programs which he has spearheaded is a 20-unit computer learning center at the Adler, geared to training classroom instructors in educational opportunities made available by the Internet. Among other programs, teachers are able to electronically link their classrooms with observatories, allowing telescope viewing opportunities never before possible. Dr. Knappenberger's lecture topics aboard the Caribbean Eclipse Cruise included "Why Eclipses?" He expertly assisted passengers on deck in their search for the Green Flash and in tracking and identifying the evening stars and constellations.
|Dr. Edwin C. Krupp--Archaeoastronomer|
Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, astronomer and director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, has been active in the study of archaeoastronomy for more than two decades. He is the editor and co-author of the award winning book In Search of Ancient Astronomies. Dr. Krupp is editor of the Griffith Observatory's monthly magazine The Griffith Observer. He writes "Rambling Through the Skies," a monthly column for Sky and Telescope magazine. In addition to orchestrating the "Dry Run Eclipse Countdown" and "Eclipse Day Countdown", he mesmerized passengers with his lecture "Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings" the subject of his most recent book Skywatchers, Shamans, and Kings: Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power.
|Robin Rector Krupp--Author, Illustrator|
Robin Rector Krupp writes and illustrates books for children. Three of these books have been done with her husband, Dr. E. C. Krupp. She has taught drawing and design at Pierce College, The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and the California State University at Northridge. Currently she offers seminars on book illustration at Associates in Art at Van Nuys, California. Robin is a veteran of four total solar eclipses and has led journal workshops after three of them, encouraging others to capture the experience in art and words (some of which appear below.) Aboard the Caribbean Eclipse Cruise, she presented "Quick Sketching and Journal Keeping" and "Capture the Feeling: A Post Eclipse Workshop".
|David Levesque--Cruise Director|
Stella Solaris Cruise Director David Levesque wears many hats, and he wears each one with style. Between voyages he makes his home in Portland, Oregon where he teaches as well as acts and directs stage productions for local semi-professional and community theater companies. In addition to his official duties, David served as a Caribbean Eclipse Cruise lecturer sharing his special blend of knowledge about history and the sea.
|Dr. Patrick A. Moore--Astronomer, Author, Broadcaster|
Dr. Patrick A. Moore has presented the BBC Television series The Sky at Night since 1957, making it one of the longest-running television series in the world and making him one of the most recognizable people in Great Britain. His talent for written and verbal communication has made him one of the leading popularizers of astronomy in the world. Although astronomy is his primary love, Dr. Moore also enjoys cricket, chess, tennis and music. He plays the xylophone and is a published composer. His operas includePerseus and Andromeda and Theseus, in which he also acted. In addition to his lectures on astronomy aboard the Caribbean Eclipse Cruise, Dr. Moore presented "Music of the Spheres", a performance of his compositions, The Penguin Parade and Hurricane playing the xylophone and piano. Selections from these works were recorded with the BBC Band and Liverpool Philharmonic.
With the cooperation of the BBC, Patrick Moore's weekly television show, The Sky at Night, was filmed aboard the Stella Solaris during the Caribbean Eclipse Cruise '98. This video, with extra footage on shipboard activities related to the eclipse, is available to Caribbean Eclipse Cruise '98 passengers.
|Dr. Ronald A. Parise--Astronomer, Astronaut|
Ron Parise dreamed of riding in space as a child. That dream came true twice: in 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and in 1995 aboard Endeavour, when he served as a payload specialist for the astronomy-based Astro missions. Dr. Parise shared his Astro training experience with the Caribbean Eclipse '98 cruise passengers--his wonder in seeing Earth from space, and his knowledge of the skies during evening skywatches on deck.
|Captain Apostolos Panorios--Master of the Stella Solaris|
Captain Panarios is a twenty-six-year veteran of the sea. He has been with Royal Olympic since 1992. Capt. Panarios was born and raised on the Greek island of Tinos, where he still resides with his wife and two children. Following graduation from high school in Tinos, he attended the rigorous Greek National Maritime Academy in Syros. After graduation, he continued his education in radar and electronic navigation in Piraeus and attended the Hellenic Naval Reserve Officers School in Scaramanga. He has a long service record on tankers, cargo ships, military vessels and cruise ships, and brings many additional skills to his work.
|Ted Pedas--Astronomer, Science Travel Cruise Organizer|
Ted Pedas, project coordinator for the Caribbean Eclipse '98 cruise aboard the Stella Solaris, launched the concept of astronomy theme cruises more than two decades ago and is acknowledged as a pioneer in the specialty field of ocean-going science travel programs. He is associated with the planetariums at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio and the Farrell (Pennsylvania) Area School District for the past 26 years. He was a founding member of the International Planetarium Society, and has been a science writer for magazines and newspapers for more than 30 years.
|Dr. Warren M. Young--Astronomer, Educator|
Warren M. Young, Professor of Astronomy at Youngstown State University, is a specialist in solar system astronomy and has sailed both hemispheres to point out the wonders of the skies to thousands of cruise passengers. His enthusiasm to communicate the wonders of the universe and his expertise combine to make everyone take notice of what's happening in the sky.
|Round Table Discussions|
All lecturers participated in the Roundtable Discussions, "A Spectacular Eclipse at Sea," "Eclipse Countdown," and "The Eclipse Experience".
The BBC "Sky at Night" Roundtable Discussion included (in addition to Dr. Patrick Moore) Pieter Morpurgo, producer/director; Mike Winser, cameraman; Doug Whittaker, sound engineer; and Laura Vine, production assistant.