A miraculous celestial show on the sea: the Total Solar Eclipse-Part 2-
Surrounded by nature’s miraculous celestial show in the open ocean
When the sky, which was bright until then, suddenly began to darken, cheers rose from every corner of the deck. Everyone looked up at the sky, watching the sun gradually dissapear. When the sun was hidden completely behing the moon, the sky suddenly became engulfed by darkness, and the area near the horizon became a sunset-like color. Looking up at the sun, overlapping with the moon, it looked like a black circle with a dilute gas crown surrounding it. During this sudden “night”, we could clearly see near the zenith the brilliance of Sirius, which is not visible in the daytime. The total solar eclipse lasted only 3 minutes and 50 seconds. It’s a very quick phenomenon, but we were able to see this whole celestial show.
When the sun gradually began to dissapear from the upper left, everyone looked up at the sky at once. Cheers arose from all over the deck.
During the total eclipse, it became as dark as at night, and the sunset-like orange color spread over the horizon over the sea.
As this was not a partial but a total solar eclipse, we were able to see the beautiful solar crown surrounding the black sun.
When the hidden sun gradually appeared again, the surroundings suddenly became brighter.
Navigation by an expert for high quality observations
Navigation by astronomical experts is essential to enable viewing of a total solar eclipse in the best environment. Mr Ito Masaru, a former National Astronomical Observatory researcher, served as a guest educator onboard Peace Boat. As an “expert of the starry sky”, he was in charge of supervising the total solar eclipse observation on the ocean even before departure of the voyage, and joined the voyage for the observation itself. Through careful discussions with the team on the ship side, including the captain, Mr Ito selected observation points and succesfully cleared this challenge. It takes less than 4 minutes from the beginning to the end of a total solar eclipse. The light comes back as if the eclipse was a fleeting dream. This was the first total solar eclipse observed onboard in all Peace Boat history. It was a precious experience that let us feel the mysticity of the celestial bodies.
Onboard, a lecture is given to explain the mechanisms of a solar eclipse in detail, and learn how to observe it in a safe and enjoyable way.
Mr Ito says that lately it is easy to stop seeing the sky in everyday life, so it is a nice chance to imagine the universe through such an astronomical show.
Mr Ito’s greatest advice when observing is “to not be greedy”. “If you are trying to do too many things, the eclipse will be over in no time. Don’t just take photos, I want you to see it live. There are opportunities to learn about the eclipse onboard, and there is nothing difficult in order to observe it.”
A miracle show, the total solar eclipse allows you to feel the wonders of the celestial bodies as a whole. Sharing this joy, which is quite difficult to explain, with other people is also a unique characteristic of a cruise.