Solar eclipse as seen from Rapa Nui
This might just be one of the most enchanting images I have ever set eyes upon. The composite image, was taken by astronomer (and friend of Cosm) Dr Francsico Diego of University College London on the Pacific island of Rapa Nui during the total eclipse of July this year.
Also known as Easter Island, Rapa Nui is perhaps one of the most intriguing and magical places on Earth. Since it's settlement by a Polynesian people – known as the Rapanui – in about 300AD, it has bore witness to catastrophic famine, civil war, slave raids, epidemics and near-total deforestation.
It is held as a microcosmic example of how civilisations rise and fall and, its monumental statues – known as Moai – seem to stand a mournful vigilance over the ghosts of the island's past
This rich history lends an extra poignancy to this, already enchanting, image.
So here are a few more of Francisco's beautiful images and few words too, enjoy!
Rapa Nui: A magical solar eclipse
By Dr Francisco Diego
Total solar eclipses are arguably the most spectacular displays in Nature, specially when they occur over exotic landscapes. Having been lucky enough to witness these displays for over 40 years all over the world, I have now the privilege and pleasure of sharing my experience as a guest lecturer for Explore Worldwide, a large adventure tour company with recent interest in astronomy-related trips.
Above: Composite image of the corona. Note the polar plumes distorted by powerful magnetic fields. This is typical of periods of minimum solar activity. The star on the left is Delta Geminorum, mag 3.5
On 2010 July 11, the shadow of the Moon crossed the south Pacific Ocean, covering only a handful of islands, including Rapa Nui (Easter Island), chosen as our final destination for its amazing landscapes dominated by volcanos and the enigmatic moai statues. Totality would last over 4.5 minutes with the Sun around 40° high.
An unforgettable experience framed by a superb location and a dramatic preamble by threatening weather. Our group of more than 80 Explore enthusiasts enjoyed from a magical location, one of the most spectacular eclipses in memory.
Below: A sequence of images of the 'diamond ring' effect. This effect occurs just before (or just after) the Sun disappears (or reappears) from behind the Moon