« on: April 18, 2015, 11:57:29 AM »
Totality for this event was visible from only two places on land -- the Svalbard archipelago (islands way up in the Arctic circle) and the Faroe Islands (another group of islands at a little bit more "civilized" latitude -- 62N -- between Iceland and Scotland). We traveled on a tour of the Faroes and Iceland, with the hope of also catching some Aurora. Our expectations in advance of the trip were pretty low, because the weather is usually pretty cloudy this time of year in the Faroes.
As it turned out, overall, the weather was pretty bad throughout the trip. We had cold rain, sleet, snow, hail, and, of course, clouds. Most days and most nights had lots of clouds, although there were occasional clearings.
Aurora: we saw decent (but not spectacular) aurora on one night in Iceland. Very nice, to be sure, but given that there had been a major solar flare or CME of some kind early in our trip, and huge, spectacular auroral displays were visible all over Canada and anywhere in Iceland or the Faroes that was not cloudy, this one was pretty minimal. There was a green band about 10-20 degrees above the Northern horizon, stretching about 30 degrees East to West. From the East end of this band, there was another green arc arcing vertically up to about 80 degrees. Both bands were maybe 5 to 10 degrees wide. The other half of our group (we were split in two groups due to hotel sizes, buses, etc.) was a little bit luckier -- they also saw aurora only one night, but they had a spectacular 360-degree display.
Totality: we got lucky. Thousands of tourists who flocked to the Faroe Islands missed it due to clouds. Our group missed first contact and most of the first partial phase with clouds and rain. It was strange standing there under an umbrella as the event started. But about 1/2 way through the first partial phase, we started having some holes in the clouds, so we began to have some hope.
There were holes in the clouds off-and-on for the remainder of the first partial, so we saw a good bit of that. Then we had a very nice hole in the clouds for about 20 or 30 minutes right up to second contact and a little beyond.
Totality nominally lasted a little over 2 minutes, and our cloud hole allowed us to see about half of that, then it clouded up completely, and we missed third contact and all of the following partial.
The first diamond ring was quite good, and we saw some respectable Corona during totality. There was a lot of water vapor in the air, so the Corona extended only maybe one solar diameter on either side, but at least it was easily visible.
In 15X50 IS binoculars, I could see several decent-sized bright red prominences throughout the part of totality that we saw, including one suspected detached one (which I was able to confirm later on a photo taken by another tour member).
Given our low expectations, this was a "total" success!
Get ready for "The Great American Eclipse" (2017 August).
Joe Bob says: check it out!