2002, Mexico

2002, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Annular Eclipse of June 10, 2002

Commentary from Jay Pasachoff on his expedition

My own recollections are not so dramatic, since I was ensconced on the lower deck of the ship out of Puerto Vallarta. The sea got rough from Boris as we left the Bay, heading about 3 hours south to get within the zone of annularity. We spotted a hole in the clouds to the west and asked the Captain to stop, but when he did, the ship rocked from side to side too much, so he started up again.

My lecture was given as I held onto the ceiling (low ceiling) with my hand to keep from falling, but the people seemed attentive as I showed slides of past annular eclipses, the Seattle partial eclipse at sunset, and a few total eclipses out of the 32 solar eclipses I had previously been to.

I heard later that people were sick upstairs, but almost everybody on the lowest desk was outside on the stern and seemed OK. Perhaps the higher levels rocked more. We did have the sea coming through windows at times and sloshing around on the deck.

Throughout the partial phases, we had our eyes on slits in the clouds in the west, one at about 4 degrees and one at about 2 degrees above the horizon, especially. We could tell where the sun was from occasional crepuscular rays. But it didn’t show through the higher hole. The lower hole was pay dirt! Just as annularity started, we saw a bright vertical streak through the hole, obviously one of the annular eclipse’s limbs, and we cheered. And then a few seconds later, the opposite limb appeared to its left. We snapped still and video images and generally rejoiced. Within two minutes, the eclipse was over, and the sun set (it was behind the clouds) a couple of minutes later. We asked the question “What is the minimum amount of sun one has to see at an annular eclipse to make the expedition a success?,” and decided that we had just defined it.

More photos from Pasachoff’s expedition

Press release about eye safety citing Jay Pasachoff

Report and Photos from Friedhelm Dorst