Stunning Snapshots of Sunday’s Solar Eclipse

This amazing shot of the partial solar eclipse on the morning of November 3 was taken from Kearny, New Jersey, on a hill overlooking Manhattan. Credit: Chris Cook

Sky-watchers in most of the Western Hemisphere were treated to a rare solar eclipse on November 3, and many captured picture-postcard views, particularly at sunrise.

The moon’s dark shadow appeared to eat away at the face of the sun on Sunday, November 3, giving lucky sky-watchers in most of equatorial Africa a view of a total eclipse. Those watching along the eastern coast of North America, northern South America, southern Europe, and the Middle East saw a stunning partial eclipse at sunrise.

Although the Earth crosses between the moon and the sun every month, a total solar eclipse occurs only when the three celestial bodies are perfectly aligned so that the moon casts its dark central shadow (called the umbra) onto a very narrow strip along the surface of the Earth.

Here are samples of some of the amazing snapshots that captured the breathtaking beauty of the eclipse.

A view out the window of a plane flying over th e Atlantic ocean offers a unique perspective of the darkness occuring during the brief moments of a total solar eclipse.  Credit: Ben Cooper
A view out the window of a plane flying over th e Atlantic ocean offers a unique perspective of the darkness occuring during the brief moments of a total solar eclipse. Credit: Ben Cooper

In just over the course of 3.3 hours, the moon’s dark shadow touched down 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) east of Jacksonville, Florida, at sunrise. The path of the totalitywhere the entire solar disk is coveredthen raced across the open north Atlantic Ocean and through central Africa, until the lunar shadow left the Earth’s surface in Somalia at local sunset. In total, the moon’s shadow traveled a path of some 8,450 miles (13,600 kilometers) across the globe.

THree sleepy chilren bask in the partially eclipsed sunrise from Holden Beach, North Carolina. Credit: Tavi Greiner
Sleepy sky-watchers and seagulls bask in the partially eclipsed sunrise from Holden Beach, North Carolina. Credit: Tavi Greiner

 

 

A pier on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Willmington, North Carlina sets the seen for a special eclipse sunrise. Credit: Conrad Pope
A pier on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Wilmington, North Carolina, sets the scene for a special eclipse sunrise. Credit: Conrad Pope

“With the passage of a cold front the day before, the weather was perfect. The sun rose from the ocean and was distorted by the temperature difference between the air and the ocean,” said photographer Conrad Pope.

“I’ve seen many eclipses and many more sunrises, but none looked like this.”

The next solar eclipse will occur on April 29, 2014, when the moon’s shadow path will cross over Antarctica. A partial eclipse will be visible again from North America on October 29, 2014.

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Changing Planet

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.