03 October 1986
Diamond Tiara Chromospheric Central Eclipse
(See text below image mosaic for details.)

The "diamond tiara" eclipse of 03 October 1986 was photographed from a Citation II aircraft at an altitude of 40,000 feet above mean sea level over the north Atlantic Ocean near Greenland.  (Click HERE for more information on this remarkable eclipse).  The above montage of 25 exposures starting at 19:05:14 U.T. spans only eight seconds of time (uniform exposure spacing at a rate of three frames per second).  The unfiltered 1/500 second images were captured on Kodacolor 100 (GA 5095) film with a 400mm EFL lens stopped down to f/22 on a Nikon FM2 camera.  The solar corona was easily visible to the unaided eye, though this photographic sequence was designed to capture the chromosphere and circum-lunar bead phenomena. Four frames, 19:05:19.33 - 19:05:20.33 (in penultimate row above) were, unfortunately, affected by vibration in the aircraft.

Clearly, this eclipse was not annular.  Some have argued it was not total as the photosphere was never instantaneously completely extincted.  However, we were immersed in the lunar umbra as we could very clearly see the moon's shadow projected on the cloud tops below us.  Duration?  Well, I'll let you decide.  For my money I measure it as the time interval between the instant our aircraft was overtaken by the leading edge of the umbral shadow and when we fell out of the umbra as the trailing edge passed over us.  That was somewhere between 5 and 6 seconds.  I am not ashamed to add this to my personal tally of time in the "umbra" and even call this a "total" solar eclipse, though I won't use a capital "t".

It is of interest to compare this to the "Broken Annular" eclipse of 30 May 1984, which had a computed duration of about 7 seconds on the east coast of the United States where it was seen by many observers.  For example see an Image Sequence of that eclipse acquired with the same lens as the above images.  Indeed, post facto (15 years after the 1986 eclipse) HERE is what Fred Espenak had to say about these eclipses.

Click HERE if you would like to see the 03 October 1986 tSE in pseudo "real time" as a QuickTime movie. (Download a free QuickTime viewer for Mac/Windoze from Apple).

My gratitude is extended to Joel Moskowitz, whom I recently visited in New York, for the use of his digital darkroom (and his Polaroid 4000 film scanner) and transferring the negatives (which I have been paranoid about letting out of my possession all of these years) to electronic format.  Thanks, Joel!

Glenn Schneider, 21 December 2001