Wednesday 6th April

 ANGWIN, Calif., USA  ------  Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Ocean is serving as the jump off point for scientists, amateur astronomers and passengers on two ships that are making their way to a spot off Oeno Island, one of the Pitcairn group of four islands, to view a total eclipse of the sun tomorrow (Friday, April 8).       

The two ships are the M/S Paul Gauguin which landed 100 of its 226 passengers for visiting on Pitcairn yesterday (Wednesday), and the M/V Discovery which  is calling at Pitcairn today (Thursday).

With scientists and avid astronomers aboard, both ships plan to be stationed at about 128 degrees West and close to 20 degrees South in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, April 8, to view the rare and unique eclipse. 

“Weather and sea conditions look favorable for a good viewing,” said Michael Gill, one of those aboard the Paul Gauguin in a report at 9 a.m., Pacific daylight saving time, Thursday, April 7, to the Pitcairn Islands Study Center located here.

Gill said those on the Paul Gauguin will be visiting Henderson Island (128 degrees W, 24 degrees S), another of the Pitcairn island group, today (Thursday) before moving to the eclipse viewing position not far from Oeno Island (130 degrees W, 23.9 degrees S).

The remote South Pacific Ocean location off Oeno Island is considered to be the most favorable spot in the world for viewing the “total” eclipse.  This solar eclipse is especially unusual due to its dual nature. 

Although the eclipse begins as an “annular” eclipse along its central path, it then turns “total” about 1,400 miles south of Tahiti before becoming “annular” again about 500 miles west of Costa Rica.  This produces a very narrow central eclipse path over the remote and vast Pacific Ocean far from any significant land masses, and those aboard the two ships have traveled thousands of miles to view the eclipse in its “total” form.

The 50 persons living on Pitcairn Island will view the solar event at 95.3 percent partial eclipse if weather conditions permit.  Pitcairn’s Pastor Michael Browing and his wife Ann, left the island on the Paul Gauguin and thus will enjoy the “total” eclipse others on the ship are expecting to see.

Pitcairn Island (130 degrees W, 25 degrees S) a tiny, volcanic outcropping from the floor of the South Pacific Ocean, is located roughly midway between Panama and New Zealand.

Story used by permission:

Pitcairn Islands Study Center, 1 Angwin Ave., Angwin, Calif., USA, Herbert Ford,



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