Since   eclipses   of   the   Sun   are   beautiful   and   enrapturing   events,   so-called   “eclipse   chasers”   plan   such trips   literally    years   in   advance,   and   as   a   result,   they   often   remain   some   of   the   most   vivid   of   travel   memories ever   experienced.      Furthermore,   there   exist   countless   websites   across   the   internet   which   are   solely   devoted to   eclipses   and   eclipse   chasing.      One   in   particular   is   retired astrophysicist     Fred     Espenak’s     fascinating     site     called                                                                                                                                                    devoted   to   all   types   of   eclipses,   past, present   and   future,   as   well   as   his   eclipse   photography website,                                                               Other   notable   journeys   about   the eclipse     across    Aruba     can     be     found     at      the     websites                                                                                                                                              and   at   the   interesting   travel website                                                                                                                                                                                                         which   is also   filled   with   memorable   visions   of   the   beautiful   eclipse across Aruba.      
       Shown here are various maps of the path of totality over the entire Earth as well as closer detailed maps of the path over both Aruba and Curacao.   Additionally, one of the most common of souvenirs is eclipse stamps, usually available at the local post office. Palm Beach, Aruba - Total Solar Eclipse - February 26, 1998 Physics Teaching, Aviation Photography, Glassblowing Edward Pascuzzi One of the most beautiful of sights a person can witness is the awe of a total eclipse of the Sun, when the Moon passes directly between Earth and the Sun, completely blocking sunlight for small portions of Earth for a short time, not more than a few minutes.  Since the Moon is quite distant from the Earth, the resulting path of the Moon’s shadow along Earth’s surface is very narrow (only about 100 miles wide), but extends for thousands of miles across the planet.       While all total solar eclipses have their own unique characteristsics, the event of February 26, 1998 was most notable due to the fact that nearly all of the path of totality was over ocean.  Exceptions to this were the Galapagos Islands, small portions of Central America, Colombia and some islands of the Antilles just north of Venezuala.  Included therein was the island of Aruba, one location with the highest probability of clear weather.  Since Aruba is easily reached from many US airports, the decision was immediately made to photograph the eclipse from Aruba.  In the heart of the Northern Hemisphere winter, the decision to do so was an easy one!        The moment at which the Moon first begins to cross the Sun, First Contact, occurred at our location (Palm Beach, Northwestern end of the island) at approximately 12:38 pm AST (1 hour ahead of EST).  As shown here, the Sun appears to have a "bite" taken out of it by the Moon at the lower right edge. First Contact Second Contact       The moment the Moon completely covers the Sun, Second Contact, occurred at our location at approximately 2:09 pm AST.  Just moments before this occurs, the sky takes on a dark silvery-ink color as the Moon's shadow rushes over the landscape.   Seconds prior to totality, one notices the infamous Diamond Ring Effect in which the last bit of sunlight peaks out from behind the Moon and it, with the Sun's corona, create what looks like a huge diamond ring in the sky. During totality, 5 planets were visible to the unaided eye (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) each at varying angular distances from the eclipsed Sun.  It is between Second and Third Contacts (i.e. during totality) that the Sun can (and should be!) viewed without any solar filters. The Diamond Ring Effect & Bailey’s Beads         In what seems like split seconds before the onset of totality, the last bit of sunlight streams past the Moon's rough edge to create the famous Diamond Ring Effect.  Here, a burst of sunlight adorns the Sun's inner corona creating the illusion of a large diamond ring in the sky.  Seconds later, the moments before the Moon entirely covers the solar disk, alternating "beads" of light  around the Moon's rough limb (called Bailey's Beads) appear, reminiscent of pearls on a necklace.  Sunlight which is alternately blocked and unblocked from view by hills and valleys on the Moon's limb give rise to this effect. Totality         The moment when the Moon completely covers the solar disk and for the next few minutes blocks all direct sunlight, is called Totality.  It is during this time that the Sun's delicate and wispy corona is visible (the Sun's upper atmosphere composed of a variety of charged particles which constitute the Solar Wind), as are a number of large solar prominences (flames of hydrogen gas 4 to 5 times the size of Earth).  Notice in the longer exposures that the coronal structure easily shows the Sun's magnetic field structure, with two distinct and opposing poles on the Sun. Third Contact         The moment when the Moon begins to uncover the Sun, Third Contact, solar filters must be replaced to telescopes and other viewing devices.  At our location, this occurred at approximately 2:12 pm (note that totality lasted but 3 minutes!).  Similarly, one may view the Diamond Ring Effect at this time as well.  Note the variety of solar and lunar features visible during totality and at Second Contact, as shown in the photographs (including the "rough" edges on the Moon's limb arising from hills and valleys on the Lunar surface).  It is just after Third Contact that the crowds usually begin to leave! Eclipse Maps, Stamps and Local Color Fourth Contact         The moment when the Moon's limb passes completely past the Sun, and the complete solar disk is once again visible, is Fourth Contact.  At our location, this occurred at approximately 3:35 pm.  Approximately an hour earlier, light levels rose to nearly normal levels and the temperature returned to about 92o F from a low during totality of about 80o F. Images of the Entire Eclipse (~ 3 hours) Aruba Palm Beach Hotel

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