Brian Dana Akers

Eclipse Photos

July 10, 1972

Convoy! We stuffed ourselves into a ’64 Mustang and a VW bus and drove east. Added more people and more vehicles in Warren, Michigan, then drove northeast for another twenty hours until we got to Cap Chat, Quebec. Camped out for a week and just glimpsed totality through a hole in the clouds. I observed it visually with a 2-inch refractor and snapped this photo with an old Rolleiflex.

Through the Clouds
1972 total solar eclipse
A stroke of luck

June 30, 1973

My first eclipse cruise—seventeen days on the P & O Canberra. From New York City to the Canary Islands to Dakar, Senegal and back again. Special guests on board included Neil Armstrong, Isaac Asimov, and Scott Carpenter. Totality lasted seven minutes. I took this shot of the inner corona through my 8-inch, F/4 Newtonian reflector. I believe this is one of the photos that were published in Modern Astronomy. You can see how much astrophotography has advanced in the intervening decades.

Off Africa
1973 total solar eclipse
Inner corona

February 26, 1979 and February 16, 1980

Alas, two eclipses that never were (for me). I was in India for the 1979 North American eclipse and in North America for the 1980 Indian eclipse. Seven minutes of darkness—lost. Here’s another shot from the 1973 eclipse.

Diamond Ring
1973 total solar eclipse
Put your finger through it

July 11, 1991

Met Loretta on this cruise, so it has to go down as both the ultimate eclipse trip and the ultimate cruise (for me). Saw this one along with my old KAS buddies off the coast of Mexico. After observing the previous two eclipses telescopically, I decided to try binoculars on this one. Here I am waiting for totality, waiting for Loretta.

On Deck
1991 total solar eclipse
The dimming sun

May 10, 1994

My first and (so far) only annular eclipse. Weather was iffy, but Loretta and I decided to give it the old college try. We drove north to Saratoga Springs and watched this one through binoculars and mylar filters. This photo of the partial phase shows the pinhole camera effect from trees shading the parking lot.

Pinhole Camera Effect
1994 annular eclipse
Through the trees

February 26, 1998

Another shipboard eclipse, another binocular eclipse. (I think I’m getting too old and lazy to drag a telescope along.) Here’s the deck of the Veendam during totality in the Caribbean. Hooked up with old Kalamazoo friends again.

Just Before Totality
1998 total solar eclipse
Dim, cool, still

Xxxx xx, 20xx

Not sure when or where we’ll go on our next eclipse expedition. Send me email if you have an opinion on what’s the best trip to take.

Finally, don’t neglect lunar eclipses. They’re not as dramatic as a total solar eclipse, but they last longer, are visible over a wider area, and have their own unique charm.