Solar Eclipse Expeditions 2002, 2003 & 2005


In late 2002, I was given the opportunity to travel as an eclipse specialist and guide to the southern skies with a group of American and British eclipse chasers around Australia. South Australia was to experience a total eclipse of the sun where the moon passes between the earth and the sun blocking a narrow path of  light from the sun. This area is known as the umbra and is the desired location to be to view the eclipse in all its spectacular glory. Our viewing site was located approximately in the area of Mount Hopeless a spot so named by the explorer Edward John Eyre after his fruitless search for an inland sea. The total solar eclipse commenced at approximately 6:43pm South Australian local time and went total at around 7:42pm local time. The path of totality stretched from the coastal town of Ceduna in South Australia across to Lyndhurst and ended near Cameron's Corner when the sun began to set below the horizon. Below are a selection of pictures taken of the eclipse and of the expedition by a number of different photographers. Please be patient as these pictures may take a while to download.


Please click on thumbnails below to see full sized pictures.


Sunset Sequence at Lyndhurst C 2002 LIShore.jpg (87363 bytes) This sunset sequence was taken at Lyndhurst by Larry Shore. 




Guru.projecting.jpg (24670 bytes)Mike 'the Guru' O'Leary projecting eclipse image on van using his 25cm reflecting telescope at Purple Downs, SA.




Eclipse Series.jpg (23000 bytes)In this series the diamond ring before totality and totality were taken by Howard Duncan and the diamond ring after totality was taken by Susan Walker. 



British visitor Alan Gard exams one of the telescopes at the Old Sydney Observatory in New South Wales.




Shot of totality taken from Roxby Downs South Australia by Neil Bittner.




Gail (from South Australia) and Susan (from California) pose for a snapshot during a lunch stop during the 5 hour drive from Arkaroola in the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia, to the viewing site near Mount Hopeless.


Eclipse.Dione01.jpg (23118 bytes)Dionne Warrington standing by Mike 'the Guru' O'Leary's eclipse projection.




Astronomical Society of South Australia members preparing to leave Arkaroola for the trip to Mount Hopeless.




Aris 'Moses' Moustakas, Dr Victor Gostin and Paul 'Starman' Curnow during lunch break near Mount Hopeless. 




A vast array of photographic and viewing equipment is set up near Mount Hopeless in anticipation of the eclipse.




Equipment02.jpg (27964 bytes)More equipment at Mount Hopeless at the ready in anticipation for the eclipse.



eclipse-007.jpg (18214 bytes)Shot of eclipse taken from Mount Hopeless by Steve Blum shortly away from reaching totality.



Image of astronomers viewing eclipse low on horizon near Mount Hopeless captured by Robert Strutz.




Some of the boys posing in front of one of two main buses ferrying people to the eclipse viewing site near Mount Hopeless in South Australia.       



eclipse-017.jpg (23534 bytes)Partially eclipsed sun setting on the horizon near Mount Hopeless in South Australia.




Cheers Mate.jpg (26307 bytes)Geologist Professor Ian Plimer (Melbourne University) and Paul Curnow (Adelaide Planetarium) celebrate in the Northern Territory with Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the background after the 2002 solar eclipse.





OutDinner01.jpg (60450 bytes)Eclipse chasers enjoying an outback dinner near Uluru (Ayers Rock) a couple of days after the eclipse.




Solar Eclipse 2003

Clear skies prevailing, most of Australia, New Zealand and the southern tip of South America were able to view a partial solar eclipse the morning of the 24th of November. If you go by the Universal Time Clock, the eclipse was on the 23rd of
November, 2003.

To see the total solar eclipse you had to be in or near Antarctica. There were several expeditions to view and photograph this eclipse: a Russian icebreaker, which left two weeks earlier from Cape Town, South Africa; a Russian Ilyushin 76TD cargo plane that also departed from Cape Town and landed on the ice; a chartered LAN Chile Airbus A340 jet out of Punta Arenas, Chile; and a chartered Qantas Boeing 747-400 out of Melbourne, Australia.

The following photographs are from the Qantas flight.


835 C 2003 HADuncan.jpg (108645 bytes)Image #835 was photographed from seat 65B straight out clean windows at 9:45 Local Time 24/11/03 (22:45 UTC 23/11/03). The moon completely covered the sun's photosphere. The sun's corona was very pronounced and brilliant white with very dark, clear skies. This photo was taken approximately 1 minute into the eclipse. On the ground, the duration of totality was up to 1m 57secs. From our vantage point of 35,000 ft. and flying at Mach 0.87, totality lasted 2m 30secs. 


848 C 2003 HADuncan.jpg (121704 bytes)Image #848 shows the sun beginning to overtake the moon. This
"Diamond Ring" was absolutely dazzling to the eye and looks like one!



850 C 2003 HADuncan.jpg (124953 bytes)In image #850, the lunar surface appears more spherical. All photos were taken using a hand-held digital SLR Canon 10D with a 300mm lens, image stabilization and manual focus.[1/60 F5.6 ISO400]



852 C 2003 HADuncan.jpg (126192 bytes)Image #852 is within split seconds from the previous photo. It was the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen. The corona is still very visible on the opposing side.



854 C 2003 HADuncan.jpg (117125 bytes)In image #854, the sun's photosphere was so bright that I could no longer look through the view lens. I kept releasing the shutter hoping I got this picture.



Eclipse Map.jpg (182230 bytes)This map is courtesy of Fred Espenak and Jay Anderson, NASA.
Qantas Flight 2901 location was: 60 59'S 93 01'E



A special thanks to Captain John Dennis and crew of QF2901 - Glenn Schneider of Steward Observatory, University of Arizona who calculated the flight plan - Phil Asker and staff of Croydon Travel responsible for chartering the Qantas Boeing 747-400 - Susan Walker in seat 65C and Jim Blanksby in seat 65A who shared his window - Paul Curnow, fellow eclipse chaser, for providing this forum.

Howard Anton Duncan
Oceanside, California (December 2003)


jmp_eclipse03_02web.jpg (306751 bytes)Another shot taken from the Qantas Boeing 747-400 by Professor Jay Pasachoff the Director of Hopkins Observatory. or



2005 solar eclipse photos 

Also visit: "Eclipses by the rules"





Last updated 10th of February 2006