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1998 Total Solar Eclipse

Photo Gallery A (Overview)

Photographs by Fred Espenak

1998 Feb 26 Total Solar Eclipse
1999 Total Solar Eclipse
This photo is a composite from 20 separate images shot with two telescopes.

The total solar eclipse of 1998 started in the Pacific and crossed the Galapagos, northern Columbia and Venezuela before sweeping over a number of popular island destinations in the Caribbean. NASA's 1998 total eclipse website has detailed predictions and maps of this astronomical event.

A Caribbean cruise to observe the eclipse of the Sun was organized by Ken Willcox with the indispensable help of Gary Spears (Spears Travel). Carnival's 71,000 ton MS Fascination brought our group of nearly five hundred people to six ports of call through the Caribbean during the week leading up to the eclipse. I served as technical consultant and one of several guest lecturers during the trip.

A unique feature of this cruise was that our expeditioners had a two choices for eclipse viewing. On eclipse morning, the MS Fascination docked in Oranjestad, Aruba to disembark passengers who wanted to observe and photograph the event from dry land. The ship then departed heading south to the central line to take advantage of a longer totality and the improved weather prospects.

I chose the land option in Oranjestad since I had an ambitious photography program to execute. At 9 AM, the Sun was shining brightly as I set up my telescopes and cameras. Unfortunately, clouds soon started to move in from the south and the sky became completely overcast by 11:30. A brief shower elicited an frantic dash to cover telescopes and cameras with plastic bags.

During the partial eclipse phases, the Sun was occasionally glimpsed though holes in the clouds, but the weather conditions remained grim. The first sign of real hope occurred a half hour before totality as the crecent Sun appeared for longer intervals. With only three minutes left, the Sun finally moved into a large, clear hole. We enjoyed a splendid eclipse but this was a very close call. For more about our expedition to Aruba, see 1998 Eclipse report.

My primary telescopes for this eclipse were an Astro-Physics 105mm f/6 apo refractor (fl=640mm) and a Vixen 80mm f/8 fluorite refractor (fl=640mm). Nikon FE SLR's were attached to each of these instruments. The telescopes were bolted in tandem on a Losmandy G11 equatorial mount along with a 300mm Nikkor telephoto lens.I also had two Nikon 8008 SLR's with programmable backs and two video cameras.

Below is a selection of photos obtained from the Aruba. For more 1998 eclipse images, visit both of the photo galleries:
A - Overview | B - Corona |

Blue Bar

Click on each image below to see a larger photo.

T98-01n
Celestial Diamond Ring
(T98-01w)

Celestial Diamond Ring (T98-01w)

Before totality begins, the corona appears during the diamond ring effect. Structure in the corona has been digitally enhanced and the sky background has been adjusted to match its blue naked eye appearance.

Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 Feb 26 (Oranjestad, ARUBA)
Nikon FE and Vixen 80mm f/8 Fluorite Refractor, 1/250 second
Photo 1998 by Fred Espenak

T98-02n
Awesome Corona
(T98-02w)

Awesome Corona (T98-02w)

A computer enhanced image of the solar corona was created by combining twenty-two separate negatives into a single photograph (see: 1998 Composite Photo). Features on the dark face of the Moon are visible as well as a wealth of subtle details and streamers in the corona.

Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 Feb 26 (Oranjestad, ARUBA)
Nikon FE and Vixen 80mm f/8 Fluorite Refractor, 1/250 second
Photo 1998 by Fred Espenak

T98-03n
Corona & Prominences
(T98-03w)

Corona & Prominences (T98-03w)

This close up portrait of the inner corona and ruby-red prominences was created by computer processing a dozen separate photographs into the final image. Polar brushes and other fine details are visible in the corona and vivid prominences are revealed.

Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 Feb 26 (Oranjestad, ARUBA)
Astro-Physics 105mm f/6 Apo Refractor + AP 2x Barlow
Photo 1998 by Fred Espenak

T98-04n
Baily's Beads
(T98-04w)

Baily's Beads (T98-04w)

The appearance of Baily's beads signals the end of totality. This unique sequence records the beads' first appearance and their development against a forest of red prominences.

Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 Feb 26 (Oranjestad, ARUBA)
Astro-Physics 105mm f/6 Apo Refractor + AP 2x Barlow, 1/250 second
Photo 1998 by Fred Espenak

T98-05n
Last Diamond Ring
(T98-05w)

Last Diamond Ring (T98-05w)

At 3rd contact, the diamond ring effect heralds the end of totality. Seconds later the corona fades from view as daylight returns and oaths are sworn to see another total eclipse of the Sun!

Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 Feb 26 (Oranjestad, ARUBA)
Nikon FE and Vixen 80mm f/8 Fluorite Refractor, 1/250 second
Photo 1998 by Fred Espenak



1998 Total Solar Eclipse - Photos and Reports

Solar Eclipse Photographs

Copyright Notice

All photographs, text and web pages are © Copyright 1998 by Fred Espenak, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. They may not be reproduced, published, copied or transmitted in any form, including electronically on the Internet or WWW, without written permission of the author. The photos have been digitally watermarked.

The photographs may be licensed for commercial, editorial, and educational use. Contact Espenak (at MrEclipse) for photo use in print, web, video, CD and all other media.

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Last revised: 2006 Oct 20