Aku-Aku Eclipse

Easter Island

July 11th, 2010

Diamond Ring

July 11, 2010 complete eclipse path The path of the total solar eclipse of July 11th, 2010 occurred almost entirely over the South Pacific Ocean, making landfalls only in Mangaia in the Cook Islands, Easter Island, and ending in the southern tips of Chile and Argentina (where the eclipse occurs near sunset, and viewing conditions are unfavourable). Although Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth, it is easy to get there, with daily scheduled airline flights to and from Santiago, Chile, so it became the destination of choice for Fourmilab's Eclipse 2010 expedition.

July 11, 2010 eclipse path over Easter Island All of Easter Island (Isla de Pascua in Spanish or Rapa Nui [“Big Island”] in the indigenous Polynesian language) was within the eclipse track, a bit south of the centre line. Totality would be almost five minutes on the island, close to the maximum totality of five minutes and 20 seconds which would occur in mid-Pacific. The probability of clear skies for the eclipse were about fifty-fifty on the island, which were about as good as anywhere else on the eclipse path. Easter Island weather is famously variable: “if you don't like the weather, wait fifteen minutes”, so it's really a matter of luck whether you're between the clouds when totality occurs. With the island entirely within the zone of totality, and the weather dominated by the vast surrounding ocean, not the terrain, choice of observing location had little or nothing to do with the chance of a clear sky. We opted for a site at Anakena Beach on the northern tip of the island where we hoped to be able to photograph the eclipsed Sun above the picturesque moai (statues) at that location. Our only worry was that it might be a mob scene, but that didn't turn out to be the case: there was a crowd, but plenty of room for everybody to set up their equipment without interfering with one another.

The eclipse expedition is chronicled in the following photo galleries, which you're welcome to explore in any order you wish; they are organised in a more or less chronological fashion, although photos from sites we visited more than once have in some cases been grouped together for coherence. Most of the pictures in these galleries have been tagged with the date and time they were taken in Universal Time. Santiago is four hours before Universal Time at this time of year and Easter Island is six hours earlier.

Santiago Santiago
Hanga Roa Hanga Roa
Anthropology Museum Anthropology Museum
Puna Pau (Pukao Quarry) Puna Pau (Pukao Quarry)
Cliffs and Caves Cliffs and Caves
Ahu Akivi Ahu Akivi
Ahu Tahai Ahu Tahai
Ovahe Ovahe
Shore Walk Shore Walk
Ahu Te Pito Kura Ahu Te Pito Kura
Bahía La Pérouse Bahía La Pérouse
Rano Raraku (Moai Quarry) Rano Raraku (Moai Quarry)
Anakena Anakena
Totality at Anakena Totality at Anakena
Petroglyphs at Papa Vaka Petroglyphs at Papa Vaka
Tongariki Tongariki
Ahu Vinapu Ahu Vinapu
Ana Kai Tangata Ana Kai Tangata
Rano Kau Rano Kau
Orongo Ceremonial Village Orongo Ceremonial Village
Four-Handed Moai Four-Handed Moai
Ana Te Pahu Ana Te Pahu
The Night Sky The Night Sky
Heading Home Heading Home

by John Walker
July 20th, 2010

This document is in the public domain.