Eclipse Panoramas 1991

360 Degree Panoramic Photos
Of The 11 July, 1991 Total Solar Eclipse
From Mazatlan, Mexico

© Copyright 1991, 1997, 1998 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.



360 Degree Panoramas
All-sky Images
Instrumentation

360 Degree Panoramas of the 11 July, 1991 Total Solar Eclipse from Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 11 JULY 1991
360 DEGREE PANORAMIC PHOTOS OF THE LUNAR UMBRA
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
The following sequence of panoramic photos show the dramatic approach of the lunar umbra. Each panorama covers about 90 degrees vertically by 460 degrees horizontally (for about 100 degrees of horizontal overlap). The directions North, East, South, and West, all appear immediately below each panorama. The hotel building to the North appears twice; once at each end of the picture.
Additional information is shown under the directions:
Local time (hh/mm/ss) is shown under the center of each picture. The time before or after second or third contact is shown under "West". For example: "2C-3:14" is shown under the first panorama, indicating that it was taken 3 minutes, 14 seconds before the beginning of totality. The exposure time and f/ratio is shown under "North" on the the right side of each panorama. The first six panoramas were taken on Ektar 125 film The last three were taken on Kodachrome 64.
Each panorama is made up of a series of four photos taken with a Nikon FM camera and a 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye Nikkor lens. The North photo is repeated at each end. In order to facilitate taking panoramas in an expeditions manner during the eclipse, Jeffrey R. Charles designed and fabricated a remote control indexing rotary camera platform. This allowed each panorama to be taken over a period of only six seconds.
The panoramas were taken for aesthetic and data collection purposes. The data is used to determine the altitudes at which the boundary of the lunar umbra is most prominently projected on the earth's atmosphere. This information is used in predicting various umbral phenomena which may be visible at future total solar eclipses.
A dozen or so panoramas were taken at the 1991 eclipse. The best nine are shown here. Even though local clouds obscured the corona, it was clear several kilometers out to sea. The clear western horizon allowed the umbra to be detectable nearly ten minutes before totality, but its appearance on a panorama was insignificant until within five minutes of totality. Accordingly, this panoramic series starts at just over three minutes before totality.
Below: The Umbra Approaches Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Above: The Umbra Approaches Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Below: The Umbra Engulfs Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Above: The Umbra Engulfs Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Below: The Umbra Departs Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Above: The Umbra Departs Mazatlan, Mexico
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Enlarged 220 degree section of the panorama from 57 seconds before totality, centered on southwest. At this time, the leading edge of the umbra was easy to see as it moved across distant clouds to the south. Combined with the rapidly dimming ambient light, it was exciting!
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

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All-sky Images of the 11 July, 1991 Total Solar Eclipse.
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
All-sky Images of the 11 July, 1991 Total Solar Eclipse.
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
All-sky image taken at the beginning of totality. Clouds obscured most of the sky. North is at the bottom of the image. All-sky image taken two minutes after the end of totality. The umbra is just a small, dark area low in the southeastern sky.

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Indexing Rotary Camera Platform for conveniently taking 360 degree panoramic photos of total solar eclipses and other subjects.
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Instrumentation
Motorized Indexing Rotary Camera Platform
© Copyright 1991, 1997, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
This indexing rotary camera platform was used to take the 360 degree eclipse panoramas in this article. The left photo shows the platform with its remote hand control. The shutter release wire (attached to the camera) unwinds from the tripod column as the platform spins. It was subsequently replaced by commutators. The top right photo shows the top of the platform. The bottom right photo shows the top section of the platform close up. The platform can easily be configured to stop at predetermined intervals of 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 180 degrees, or to stop at any pre set combination of these angles.

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Need information about eclipses for your planetarium, motion picture, or other project? Jeffrey R. Charles performs science consulting in regard to eclipse phenomena and instrumentation. Please direct inquiries to Jeffrey R. Charles jcharles@versacorp.com or click here for more information about total solar eclipse related science and engineering consulting.


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© Copyright 1991, 1997, 1998 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Uploaded to this domain: 18 Feb. 1997
Last modified: 19 Mar. 1998