The Total Solar Eclipse of February 26, 1998
The total solar eclipse of February 26, 1998, was witnessed by millions of people around the world thanks to the Internet. I was lucky enough to experience the celestial show in person. It was my first total solar eclipse!
The following pictures were taken by me aboard the Dawn Princess cruise ship. The ship sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 21, 1998 and stopped at St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Caracas and Aruba before returning to San Juan. The ship traveled a total of 1800 miles.
We had the option on eclipse day to go ashore at Aruba or stay on the ship. We decided for the comfort and mobility of the ship. During totality we were located on the center line between Aruba and Curaçao. I used a Canon AE-1 Program SLR camera, 80-200mm lens with doubler (400mm) and Kodak Royal Gold 400 speed film. A cable release and tripod were also used. The exposure times range from 1/500 to 1/2 a second.
So what is a total solar eclipse? In a total solar eclipse the bright disk of the Sun is completely covered up by the Moon and you can see the other parts of the Sun like the corona, chromosphere, and prominences. Bright stars and planets can be seen too. A total solar eclipse can last a maximum of only 7.5 minutes. Usually total solar eclipses last only 3-4 minutes. This is because of the orbital motion of the Moon and the rotation of the Earth make a narrow path of totality. We experienced about three minutes and forty-five seconds of totality during this eclipse.