One-Shot Wonder! .... Totality perserveres!

Click for high-resolution version (c) Vic & Jen Winter 2002
This picture shouldn't exist.

Clouds covered over 90% of the path of Totality in South Africa.

At our site location, even though patches of clear sky persisted throughout the partial phases, one cloud moved through just at 2nd contact and remained until 3rd contact. For all practical purposes, this would have been a cloud-out. - But it WASN'T after all!

In one fleeting moment at 3rd contact, the clouds thinned and the eclipse was visible naked-eye again. We remembered seeing ruby-red prominences through the view-finder of the camera - and clicked anyway.

Had that brief glimpse of the red chromosphere and prominences been a figment of our imagination? A quick replay of digital images showed nothing but the bright sliver of third contact. There hadn't been time to adjust the shutter speed beyond the partial phases. We would have to wait until the film images were developed at home in the states.

Sure enough... 1 frame captured that moment in all its glory!

The equipment used was a Celestron C-9.25 F/10 Schmidt Cassegrain on a Losmandy GM8 with a Mamiya 645 camera mounted at prime focus, imaged on Fuji 400 Negative 120 film at 1/125 second.

By this image, we now estimate that our location experienced 2 seconds of totality; one second in which the prominences were observed through the view-finder, and one second when this photograph was taken.

Visible at the top of this image is the ruby-red of a prominence, diffused through clouds.

Visible at the left are the thin streamers of inner-most corona

Visible at the bottom is the last remnants of the chromosphere to either side of Baily's Beads when the photosphere re-appears.

All photos © Vic & Jen Winter

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