One week ago African dwellers experienced the annular solar eclipse, which occured throughout Central Africa, Madagascar and Reunion. A spectacular “ring of fire” solar eclipse was darkened skies over Africa since early morning to early afternoon. The annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like an ring. An african annular eclipse appeared as a partial eclipse over a nearly whole Africa, Yemen and Indian Ocean. Maximum phase of annularity occured above Tanzania (Phase 0,987, Obscuration 94,8%, Duration 3m05s) (Pic.1)

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Pic.1 Annular solar eclipse on 1st September 2016 path (eclipse.gscf.nasa.gov).

I decided to carry out this observation without journey to Africa (unfortunately) by use the live-stream view and web-cameras located in the vicinity of maximum phenomena. Unfortunately the Central Africa isn’t a good region to find a proper and good working web cameras. The countries are poor and latter with modern technology. I couldn’t find web cameras in Gabon, Congo and Tanzania. Probably I didn’t spend enought time to do this, but never mind.

Hopefully I found good web  cameras in the Reunion and north Madagascar (Andilana, Nosy Be iceland). Finally I could observe a huge partial eclipse (84%( from Andilana Beach and the annular solar eclipse from the Reunion (Pic.2).

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Pic.2 Web cameras location: 1 – Andilana Beach resort, 2 – Saint Denis, 3 – south Reunion beaches and path of annularity (eclipse.gfsc.nasa.gov).

Watch the eclipse!

To watch this phenomena by live stream I used:

Sat24.com website, which shown exactly what’s going on above Africa (Pic.3,4,5,6),

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Pic.3 The annular solar eclipse going across the Africa (sat24.com).
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Pic.4 The annular solar eclipse above Congo (sat24.com).
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Pic.5 The annular solar eclipse above Tanzania (sat24.com).
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Pic.6 African “Ring of fire” above Madagascar (sat24.com).

Live stream from Reunion and another various places within path of the eclipse (Pic.7,8), which in general shown the annular solar eclipse from Reunion,

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Pic.7 Live stream from the Teide Observatory (6:45 UT), where hardly visible partial eclipse (Obscuration 2%) occured just after sunrise (live.slooh.com)
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Pic.10 2nd and 3rd contact on the Reunion Island (live.slooh.com).

 – ISS Position, which makes live streams (Pic 8,9,10), unfortunately this part of observation was failed because the cameras was temporarily broken. The image from ISS was regained on the very last moment of eclipse, when altumbra touched Earth’s terminator line on east part of the Indian Ocean. During the morning the ISS track wasn’t suitable with path of the eclipse, the satellite was going from South America towards Europe and text into the Australia.

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Pic.11 ISS tracking before the last contact with altumbra (n2yo.com)
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Pic.12 ISS tracking just before the last contact with altumbra (n2yo.com).
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Pic.13 ISS tracking in the vicinity of the annular eclipse path, with the live stream output on the right (n2yo.com).
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Pic.14 Full screen mode of the ISS live stream just after regain the image. The image is showing other way round. Annular eclipsed sun setting on the cloud level (n2yo.com).

I watched this phenomena by web cameras also from:

-> Madagascar, Nossi-be, Andilana Beach resort (Pic.15,16,17,18).

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Pic.15 Web camera on Andilana Beach resort, Madagascar (andilanaresort.com)
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Pic.16 Andilana Beach resort: 1 – at the beginning of the partial eclipse, 2 – during the maximum phase (andilanaresort.com)
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Pic.17 Partial solar eclipse seen from Andilana Beach (andilanaresort.com).
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Pic.18 Andilana Beach: 1 – at the beginning of the partial eclipse, 2 – ? 9 minuts after the maximum phase! Look on the stunning sand (andilanaresort.com).

-> The Reunion Island:

a)  Saint Denis – there wasn’t annular phase. The capital of Reunion was in grazing zone and for nearly 2 minutes people could observe how the lunar mountains are touching the solar limb. (Pic.19,20),

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Pic.19 Almost annular solar eclipse in Saint Denis (cycloneoi.com)
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Pic.20 Saint Denis: left – at the beginning of the eclipse, right – during the maximum phase, look at the houses! (cycloneoi.com).

b) Piton Basalte – good camera provided sky colour change (Pic.21.22),

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Pic.21 Weather and eclipse circumstances on Piton Basalte (cycloneoi.com).
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Pic.22 Light sensitivity changes on the web camera close to Piton Basaltes: left – before the solar eclipse right – 15 mins after the annularity,  watch on the sky and ground  (cycloneoi.com).

c) South Reunion beaches – small cameras with some defects (Pic.23,24),

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Pic.24 Annular solar eclipse on the South Reunion beaches (cycloneoi.com, sat24.com).
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Pic.25 South Reunion beaches during the annularity. Some people was very interested in (cycloneoi.com, sat24.com).

d) Saint-Leu HD Camera – the phenomena was  good noticeable (Pic.26).

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Pic.26 The annular eclipse on Saint-Leu: 1 – after start the phenomena, 2 – just before the annlarity (vievsurf.com)

Conclusions

On the conslusion I can say that work with web cameras is much different than work with digital cameras, when you can set your photo parametes manually. Then regardless to the light sensivity you can catch any change of light stream, which you meanwhile obtaining. Web cameras used to change this parameter automatically, hence some sky darkening is barely visible. Once you want to see some picture differences you must refer to the brightest elements visible on your picture (Pic.18,20). Basically it’s good to compare a bounced light from sand or some bright buildings. In some animations and attached photos you can notice an examples which appeared during this event.

Another issue arising out of the automatic light sensivity changes is the asymmetry of light dissipation between time before and after the maximum phase. As usual images taken after the maximum phase are more brighther. In my opinion this is reason of late camera reaction for light stream change. The best example of this laitness you can see in Andilana Beach (Pic.15,17,18) when the sky is the most dark and red a couple minutes after the maximum phase. Eventuallly colour of this sky didn’t back to the drawning board despite of the sun height above the horizont.

Cameras HD are the best to observe and analyse the solar eclipse phenomena.

It’s good to check what people are doing during the solar eclipse, when they are visible on the picture. Some of them are very interested in this phenomena.

Advises:

In general I would highly recommend to make a solar eclipse observation on this way. It’s good to go to the right place where the event is going by, but in the case when you can’t find a right moment to make a trip you can make a real observation from your home!
You need a computer and good connection only. I would very much like to give to you some advices about the web cameras:
direction, where the camera is headed for –  very important to delimite the most important parts of the phenomena. Every camera is headed for horizontally, so when the eclipse occurs during the morning or evening you may be able to see the Sun,

time of refresh – some cameras are refreshed every 10, 15 minutes (even more rarely), another are able to stream live al the time. The camera update is decisive  in catching the most important moments of the solar eclipse,

the camera resolution – except the HD cameras, which are obviously better  there are cameras with quite big resolution e.g. 640×480 (VGA), where you can see a lot of deatils from the captured area.

people interested it  – watch what people are doing during the phenomena! It may be interesting,

Hyper Snap or familiar software – it’s essential to have it when you decided to toggle to full screen mode. You can use PrtSc (Print Screen) button and capture the camera view into Paint but Hyper Snap will help you to make a photo series,

I hope that we will have much more HD cameras located around the world in the future.

For suppor I used Stellaroum ver.0.14.0 (www.stellarium.org)

Mariusz Krukar

Links:

Annular Solar Eclipse 1.09.2016 in NASA website

Watch the annular eclipse on the Reunion Island

Annular Solar Eclipse 2016 circumstances (Madagascar, Reunion)

Realtime Spaceweather Eclipse Gallery

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