NOVAC’s intrepid eclipse observers, Lloyd and Susan Franklin have done it again capturing the recent Dec 4th total solar eclipse from the continent of Antarctica.
Chasing total solar eclipses (TSEs) has always been a niche hobby of Lloyd’s – witnessing the eclipse of 4 Dec brings Lloyd’s total viewed TSEs to eleven, AND with this recent success he has now witnessed them from all seven continents of the world! According to Lloyd, chasing eclipses offers a great reason to visit some very cool places around the world with the added bonus of seeing the most amazing and beautiful sight possible in the sky. The Dec. 4, 2021 eclipse’s only landfall was the continent of Antarctica, giving Lloyd that elusive opportunity he had been waiting for – witnessing one from his seventh continent.
Of course, Antarctica was someplace I’ve always wanted to visit, said Lloyd, and it was almost fortuitous that the path of totality swept right over Union Glacier, which contains the only privately run camp on the continent (all other facilities in Antarctica are government run research stations). Lloyd’s point of departure to Antarctica was the southern Patagonian town of Punta Arenas, Chile. He arranged travel through Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) which operates the private camp site on Union Glacier, at latitude 79.8 degrees south.
Lloyd and Susan’s experiences on Union Glacier were truly amazing. He and wife Susan camped for 6 nights on the ice in high-tech clamshell tents that were heated by the 24 hours of sunlight, and went on multiple excursions to sites around the glacier in the days leading up to the eclipse. The eclipse viewing site was located a few miles outside of the camp. The site afforded the spectacular view of the horizon and snow-covered mountain range you see in Lloyd’s eclipse image. Totality itself was strikingly beautiful, with multiple red solar prominences visible set against the Sun’s brilliant white corona, and the twilight conditions that descended on the site were the first time since October that darkness fell on this land of the midnight Sun. The 360 degree sunset during Totality was dramatic. The planet Mercury was visible just to the upper right of the Sun as seen in the eclipse photo. As Lloyd had previously experienced, large shadow bands appeared several minutes before and after totality moving quickly across the snow-covered landscape.
It was a truly awe-inspiring eclipse, and other than the short totality duration (of course they are all way too short), ranks as one of the most beautiful TSEs that Lloyd has ever seen, comparing it to the equally stunning eclipse seen from Svalbard, Norway in 2015. Chilled champagne (as if there is any other kind on Antarctica) was enjoyed by all following 3rd contact, the end of totality. What an incredible experience to celebrate!
Stay tuned to NOVAC.com for more insights from Lloyd’s travel experience. He will be sharing his eclipse story and his personal eclipse planning regimen as we all get ready for the next US total solar eclipse in 2024. Thank you, Lloyd, for sharing both your story and the truly spectacular eclipse photos with NOVAC!