Thursday, April 9, 2015

Faroe Island eclipse report

Here are a few words on the eclipse I did not see :-(

I went on a trip with Neil Folberg to try to catch the total eclipse on the Faroe Islands

View slide show story

We knew when we set out that the chances for clear skies were not that good. As the weatherman predicted, it was drizzly and cloudy for most of our stay. Nevertheless, we had a great time touring and hiking around the islands, and Neil got some great shots for a future show.
On Friday morning of the eclipse, we got up with high hopes because the local forecast promised partly clear skies later in the day. Although we could see some patches of blue off to the north, the sky was totally overcast where we were. We could not even see a bright spot in the clouds to give a hint as to where the sun might be. Nonetheless, as the time for the total eclipse approached,the sky noticeably darkened. At totality, it got dark as sunset and the sheep around us started to bleat, 
wondering what was going on. Then two minutes and 25 seconds later, the lights came back on. The moment of totality was over, the sun peeked out, and the landscape brightened as if someone had turned on a light switch.

We packed up our telescope and camera gear and headed to the main town of Torshavan ("Thor's harbor") to commiserate with the other tourists and drown our sorrows with the purchase of souvenirs.

We learned that some lucky tourists, mostly on the neighboring island of Vagar, saw at least part of the eclipse. The best views were for a select few who could afford a helicopter ride, or specially charted jets.  

All in all, it was a great trip. The Faroes are a great place to visit, especially if you love to hike. But do go in the summer when it is warmer and not as likely to rain. Get ready for the great American eclipse of August 21, 2017, which will cross America from the Oregon coast all the way to South Carolina, passing through 10 states in its path. Better make your reservations early!


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