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Eclipse Statistics
Caribbean'73 — Voyage to Darkness
Cunard Adventurer

On June 30, 800 passengers aboard the Cunard Adventurer's Voyage to Darkness rendezvoused with eclipse totality in the mid-Atlantic. This was one of two ships the Pedas-Sigler team sent into the path of totality. Twenty minutes later 2500 people witnessed the eclipse aboard the Canberra which was positioned off the Mauritanian coast of West Africa.

[Path of June 30, 1973 eclipse]

On the morning of June 30 as the moon moved in front of the sun, the moon's shadow raced across the earth, causing more than a 100-mile wide path of totality — the condition of total eclipse — which started off the South American coast, moved east across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent (from Mauritania on the west coast to Kenya on the east) and came to an end somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

[Eclipse morning on deck]

Caribbean'73 Eclipse Cruise
June 30, 1973

  • Sunrise occurred just after 5:30 A.M.
  • First contact (beginning of the eclipse) occurred at 6:00 A.M.
  • The sun's altitude was approximately 18 ° above the horizon
  • Second contact began at 6:48 A.M.
  • Totality was 4 minutes and 5 seconds in duration
  • Easterly wind increased from about 10 to 15 knots
  • The morning temperature stopped rising and dropped more than a degree centigrade
  • The position of the ADVENTURER at totality was 43°03'W, 11° 30'N
  • Venus and Mercury were below the horizon. First-magnitude stars were easy to find — Rigel and Betelgeuse in Orion —as were some second-magnitude stars, such as those in Orion's belt.
  • "Diamond Rings" were seen at second and third contacts and passengers saw "Bailey's beads" flash into view at the sun's western limb at third contact. Shadow bands were seen, both before and after totality "shimmering on the white-painted outside walls of the ship's cabin."

[Time Capsule]

[Caribbean Eclipse Cruise/Adventurer]
An Astronomical Adventure at Sea
The Total Solar Eclipse of June 30, 1973
by George O. Abell
Excerpts from Mercury
Sept 1973

My wife and I boarded the year-old Adventurer at San Juan, Puerto Rico, late in the afternoon of Saturday, June 23, 1973. The ship was one of two charatered by Eclipse Cruises, Inc., to carry more than 2500 passengers into the darkness of the total solar eclipse on June 30. Our sister ship, the Canberra (actually 'big sister', for the Canberra is actually older and larger) had left New York the day before to take up a position at sea in the path of totality somewhat off the Mauritanian coast of West Africa. The Adventurer was to begin with a tour of the Caribbean Islands and then rendezvous with the eclipse in mid-Atlantic…

A special feature of Eclipse Cruises, Inc., is their "Science at Sea" program series of lectures by experts representing various fields of science. Our instructional staff included Von Del Chamberlain of Michigan State University, who acquainted passengers with the night sky, and Harvard's Frances Wright, who trained budding navigators to find our position at sea. Expert photographic instruction was provided by William Swann and Richard Madigan, both of Eastman Kodak. Astronaut Russell Schweikart described his own experiences in space. Former astronaut Wally Schirra (now an environmental consultant) discussed our energy and conservation problems, and Ronald Oines, a NASA project director at Oklahoma State University, described the future space programs. Peter Vogt, of the Naval Oceanographic Office, discussed the changing ocean floor and continental drift, and Howell Williams, retired Berkeley Volcanologist, explained the role of vulcanism in changing the face of the earth. Meteorologist Norman Macdonald, from MIT, was responsible for finding the location with the clearest skies for our ship on eclipse morning. James Thomas of the Florida Audubon Society taught birding. Writer Arthur C. Clarke provided much thoughtful insight into what we can expect during the coming century. My own lectures were, of course, on astronomy.…

[Lecture Staff]

Caribbean'73 Eclipse

Guest Lecturers & Staff

Science at Sea and "Culture at Sea" Programs

[Lecture Staff]
On June 30, 1973, the Cunard Adventurer rendezvoused 1200 miles mid-Atlantic with the total solar eclipse. Among the many features of the June 23 through July 4 cruise were the numerous courses in scientific and cultural fields.

Ted Pedas and Dr. Phil S. Sigler assembled the following distinguished teaching staff for the Caribbean'73 —Voyage to Darkness.

[Lecture Staff]
Dr. George O. AbellChairman of the Department of Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to serving as chairman of the American Astronomical Society's Committee on Education in Astronomy, Dr. Abell is an outstanding astronomical researcher and author of "Exploration of the Universe." the leading textbook in the field.
William SwannMr. Swann is an expert on eclipse, deep sky, star and constellation photography, and was formerly the director of the Scientific Photography Markets Division of the Eastman Kodak Company
Richard T. MadiganMr. Madigan does physics research at Eastman Kodak Company, and is also involved in NASA space projects. He is scientific coordinator for photographic materials (including solar telescopes) for SKYLAB
James M. ThomasVice-president of the Florida Audubon Society, Mr. Thomas had led numerous birding expeditions to the Caribbean. As staff biologist of King Helie Planning Group, Inc., and director of Green Earth Landscape Co., both in Florida, Mr. Thomas is responsible for biological and environmental analyses.
Prof. Von Del ChamberlainProfessor Chamberlain, director of the Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, is an authority in the field of innovative planetarium education, as well as a pioneer in the area of interpretative sky studies, which encompasses man's changing relationship of himself to the heavens. He is currently working with the National Park Service to introduce "Sky Interpretation" into campfire and other park programs.

Walter M. Schirra, Jr.Mr. Schirra has participated in all three U.S. Manned Space Flight Programs. In his Mercury spacecraft he orbited the earth six times, landing five miles from target. In his 1965 Gemini mission he made the world's first successful space rendezvous and he participated in the first manned flight of an Apollo spacecraft. He is currently chairman of ECCO Corporation, and environmental control company, located in Colorado.
Arthur C. ClarkeMr. Clarke is the winner of the Franklin Institute's Gold Medal (1963) for having originated the communications satellite in a technical paper published in 1945. As a science and science-fiction writer, Mr. Clarke has authored 45 books and innumerable articles for national magazines. In 1969 he shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of "2001; A Space Ocyssey."
Norman J. MacdonaldBesides being a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Planetary Circulations Project, Mr. Macdonald is staff meteorologist and weather reporter for WBZ-TV in Boston. Utilizing up-to-the-minute weather satellite data. Mr. McDonald will help choose the best site for viewing the eclipse and will conduct periodic weather briefings throughout the cruise.
John H. ConoverMr. Conover is currently a research meteorologist at the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories in Bedford, Massachusetts. He will be working in conjunction with the Eclipse Cruises meteorologist to select the best site for the Adventurer to view the eclipse. The only member of our staff not on board, Mr. Conover will be in touch from the U.S. Weather Bureau, Washington D.C. where he will feed us up-to-the-minute satellite weather data.
Astronaut Russell Schweickart Russell Schweickart was selected in 1963 for NASA's third astronaut group. Rusty is best known as the Lunar Module Pilot on the 1969 Apollo 9 mission, the first manned flight test of the Lunar Module, on which he performed the first in-space test of the Portable Life Support System used by the Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon. As backup Commander of the first manned Skylab mission in 1973, he was responsible for developing the hardware and procedures used by the first crew to perform critical in-flight repairs of the Skylab station.
Dr. Frances W. Wright Dr. Wright does research as an astronomer at Harvard's Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; has taught celestial navigation at the Hayden Planetarium of Boston's Museum of Science; and, as lecturer-on-astronomy at Harvard (1958-67), she also taught navigation to undergraduates to whom she dedicated her book, "Celestial Navigation."

Dr. Peter R. VogtA research geophysicist for the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Dr. Vogt received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin after several months in the Arctic Ocean making geophysical measurements. He used research ships in the North Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans to investigate the structure of the crust below the ocean floor and its connection with the theory of continental drift.
Dr. Ronald Oines Dr. Oines is assistant project director of NASA's Space Science Education Project at Oklahoma State University, where he is also a research consultant and systems analyst for the school's Research Foundation.
Dr. Howell WilliamsRetired chairman and professor of geology at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Williams is a member of the Geological Society of America and the National Academy of Sciences. He is widely recognized as one of America's foremost volcanologists, and he has traveled across the world in search and study of volcanological phenomena.

[Eclipse Staff] [Eclipse Cruises Inc. Logo]

Published articles relating to the Adventurer '73—Voyage to Darkness

E-mail:   Ted Pedas mpedas@ix.netcom.com