On July 11, 2010, the new moon passed directly in front of the sun, causing a total solar eclipse. The path of totality stretched across the South Pacific Ocean, and the Moon’s umbral shadow didn’t make landfall except for a few spots; Mangaia (Cook Islands) and Easter Island (Isla de Pascua), southern Chile and Argentina, with a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering the South Pacific and southern South America. On hand to witness the event at Easter Island were Jonathan and Michael Doochin, who graciously shared several of the images included here. You can also check out Jonathan’s Twitpic page for more pictures of the eclipse as seen on Easter Island.
In this image, the solar eclipse is shown in gray and white from a photo provided by the Williams College Expedition to Easter Island and was embedded with an image of the sun’s outer corona taken by the Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on the SOHO spacecraft and shown in red false color. LASCO uses a disk to blot out the bright sun and the inner corona so that the faint outer corona can be monitored and studied. Further, the dark silhouette of the moon was covered with an image of the sun taken in extreme ultraviolet light at about the same time by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The composite brings out the correlation of structures in the inner and outer corona.
Here you can see multiple eclipses; the team from Williams College used a cheese grater as a pinhole camera to view the eclipse.
What an amazing sight this must have been — a rainbow formed in the skies over Easter Island as people were setting up their cameras for the eclipse event.
Astronomer Jay Pasachoff, who has now witnessed 51 eclipses, was on Easter Island, and Jonathan Doochin captured this image of Pasachoff viewing the eclipse. See our preview article/interview with Pasachoff.
Other websites of note:
Daniel Fischer wrote about his experiences viewing the eclipse from Patagonia in Argentina; includes links to his best images.
Below is a video taken from the webcast of the event.