PLUN ISLAND (March 5th)

The next several posts I wrote each day during eclipse week, but unfortunately did not have access to the Internet to post them until now.  Included are a few pictures.  Many more will be uploaded in the “Photo Gallery” page this coming week.  Enjoy!

We are finally on Plun Island and what a beauty! This tiny (250m x 1000m) uninhabited island is the perfect setting for this year’s TSE. We are staying in two-bedroom bungalows and there is a staff that is also staying on the island with us to help out and provide us with wonderful food. We are very grateful to them for their care and help and for engaging with us while we work.

We have set up the tents that will house the different instruments and now the assembling begins. As I look around at my team, I can’t help but admire their hard work and dedication. The temperature is very high and so is the humidity but they keep on working! Peter Aniol is setting up his telescopes in the yellow tent. Judd and Pavel are working on setting up in the blue tent. Adi is setting up his spectrometer, which will also be in the blue tent. Shadia and Naty help at both setups.

The eclipse will take place on Wednesday March 9th at 9:53 am local time (GMT+9). Here at Plun Island we are approximately at maximum totality. The eclipse will last for 3 mins and 20 sec. Today, at that same time, we had perfect skies. We expect the same conditions for the day of the eclipse. Fingers crossed!

Some technical problems arose while trying to take sky flats. We are not sure if they are due to the camera or the optics. This is a new hurdle we have to cross. The calibration tests with each imaging system pointed at the solar disk using a combination of ND filters specifically selected to sufficiently attenuate the solar disk at each of the wavelengths of the narrow bandpass filters yielded satisfactory results. These will serve as photometric calibration. In addition we have a Coronado and a separate camera observing the sun with an H alpha filter to be able to follow the behavior of prominences throughout totality.

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