Eclipse 98

1998 Feb 26

We didn't see it!

We were in Antigua at 2:30 p.m., local time for 8 days, of which 6 days were beautifully sunny and clear. The day before the eclipse it was overcast all day. But at 2:00 a.m. on eclipse day, there were stars, wall-to-wall! I checked again at 4:30. There were still wall-to-wall stars.

At dawn, it was still clear, but at 9:00 the clouds began to build up when I set up my daughter's more than 10 year old C-90 on the lawn just outside my door. The guy from Wisconsin, in the next room, was setting up his ETX aongside me.

My neighbor, though, was an experienced photographer, who had got some excellent pictures of the Hawaiian eclipse. By the time we had finished our setup and chit-chat, the Sun was obscured, but we were optimistic, since there was clear sky in the South, and the clouds were moving North.

However, at a quarter to two, I gave up hope and went to the lobby to have them call a taxi. "Where to?" they asked. "I don't know," I said, "I want to rent it by the hour." They looked at me askance, and after awhile told me that no taxis were to be had.

The Sun was totally obscured at our site until (just!) after third contact, but we did see Venus during totality. Big deal! It was conspicuous well after totality was over. Totality had been visible just three miles south of us! Grrr..

Although this was my fourth time in the path of totality, it was the first time I was trying to photograph an eclipse. A guy from Seattle who had been in Mongolia for the last eclipse, and the Indian eclipse before that, had offered us (for free) seats on a boat he had chartered, to take him nearer the center line but dumkopf here, turned him down because he wanted to try his hand at photography, although he knew he would easily be able to lay his hands on far better photographs than he could ever hope to take.


The skies were dark and clear EVERY single night, and I got to see the Omega cluster, early mornings for the first, second, third and fourth times!

Saw an erupting volcano (Montserrat) for the first time.

Had a Caribbean holiday for the first time ever. Honest!

Roll on Turkey for 1999! And I will remember to rent a car beforehand.

Jega A. Arulpragasam 1998 Mar 4