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The 9/11 Eclipse of the Sun
Phenomenon observed from the King George Island, Antarctica
Waldemar Cono Fontes Reyes (antawa)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2007-09-12 14:39 (KST)   
Artigas Base flag pole during the sun eclipse
©2007 wfontes@ia
The 11th of September is an infamous day for the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States or for the Chilean coup d'etat in 1973, but we are not going to speak about those events today.

On Sept. 11, 2007, there was a partial sun eclipse in the South Atlantic region.

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It was visible in the southern part of South America, particularly in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and also on the Antarctic Peninsula.

We had the privilege to observe it from the Uruguayan Artigas Base on King George Island.

As usual, every time a phenomenon like this happens, everybody pays attention.

Students want to observe it, amateur observers want to take pictures, and even some people organize excursions to some exotic places in order to have the best seat in the house.

Other people associate eclipses with catastrophes or bad omens. However, in this case, this typical presumption had a basis in reality.

For students and amateur observers, it was indeed an unlucky day as the entire Latin American region was cloudy, and just a few people had the opportunity to see the eclipse.

In the Antarctica Peninsula area, though, in contrast with the weather forecast, the morning brought with it an atypical sunny day. It's exceptional to have a sunny day in the Antarctic region, especially during the austral winter.

The sun disk during the eclipse
©2007 wfontes@ia
So we were privileged. From early in the morning we woke up to check the weather and when we confirmed it was going to be clear, we prepared our cameras and eye protection for the observation. Though the Artigas Base has no astronomers or specialists in this kind of observation, we are always interested in what is going around us.

Apart from the clear sky, our location was also fortunate because we had the possibility to observe how the moon covered 80 percent of the sun disk, the maximum expected for this eclipse.

For eye protection we used 10 FW, 2 DIN black glass, borrowed from a welder's mask and also we used some spare X-ray negatives.

As I said, we are neither astronomers nor professional sun eclipse hunters. We just enjoyed the occasion as we enjoy daily life in Antarctica, having fun in each particular and unique moment.

The Collins glacier, next to Artigas Base, and the sun eclipse observed through black glass
©2007 wfontes@ia

References:

NASA: The Eclipse home page
Artigas Base
See more about King George Island here
Sun Eclipse in Wikipedia

©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Waldemar Cono Fontes Reyes

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