Eclipse of the Century
As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day the 2009 July 22 total solar eclipse was the longest of the 21st century. From the point of maximum eclipse along the Moon’s shadow track across the Pacific Ocean, the Moon completely blocked the Sun for a total of 6 minutes and 39 seconds. But from the deck of the Costa Classica cruise ship the duration of the total eclipse phase was extended to a whopping 6 minutes and 42 seconds by the ship’s motion along the shadow track. This panoramic view of the scene shows the shimmering solar corona in a darkened daytime sky, with clouds silhouetted by a bright sky on the distant horizon, beyond the Moon’s shadow. Mercury can be seen near the eclipsed Sun. Venus lies near the upper right edge of the frame. Also notable in the image is another cruise ship illuminated with full lights in the eclipse darkness. You can find it as a bright source of light under the clouds in the horizon toward the ship’s bow at center. Click on the second photo to see close-up sequence images of the eclipse.