On December 4th the moon passed in front of the sun at the perfect time and location that the sky went from full sunshine to total darkness. Most people in the world were unaware of this phenomenon because the best viewing sight of this miraculous event was in the southern Atlantic seas near Antarctica. I was fortunate to be on a ship in those waters and at 4am the moon did pass across the sun. It’s the summer in the southern hemisphere and although it was only 4 am the sun had already been in the skies for a few hours (in fact at that time of year the sun is rarely not in the sky). Unfortunately, in addition to the sun and the moon there was a full sky of clouds so the perfect picture the passengers of that ship, which included scientists from NASA and other astronomy groups, did not come to pass. Yes, it was a disappointment but when you are then surprised by whales swimming by and albatrosses flying overhead you can find solace in other miracles of nature.
Before I share pictures of some of those miracles I will share a picture from the solar eclipse in 2019 when I was in Chile (my second of three eclipse chasing trips). If you have not witnessed a solar eclipse I need to let you know that it is quite an emotional experience. Think about it…We live on this beautiful planet which is the only known planet in the universe that has a moon that is the perfect size that lies in space at the perfect distance between earth and the sun that it perfectly and totally blocks out the sun’s light every few years. To see the sight of the sun slowly being chewed by the moon like a Pac Man taking over a like shaped Pac Man is a moving experience and when the sun is totally covered it is a moment that will cause a physical change in you, either goose bumps, an increased heart rate, or tears of wonder. If you happen to be in a location that are filled with animals, as I was in Idaho in 2017, a cow pasture, you will hear the cows moo, the birds return from flight, the land turn silent as they are fooled to think it is time for their nightly rest.
Well, unfortunately I can not share pictures of this 2021 eclipse, although I did get a view of about 8 seconds of the final quarter of the phenomenon as an opening in the clouds did pass by the sun. I can, however, share some pictures of the wonderful wildlife of the cold southern hemisphere. These pictures were taken by a real eclipse chaser. Takayuki “Tan” Arai is a young Japanese photographer who was on the same ship I was on and this was his eighth eclipse. He is a wonderful photographer who needs to be discovered and I hope these photos will bring him some much deserved recognition. He sent me many others of the animals and the incredible landscapes of mountains, glaciers and icebergs floating in seas so blue that they defy a color definition. Please comment or let T2C know if you want more.
Thank you Tan for sharing these photos with me. The captions of the pics are mine so please forgive me, Tan.
His website is http://www.takayukiarai.com/