Total Solar Eclipse: 2010 July 11

Hikueru Atoll from the air

Air Tahiti

Airfield to village shuttle



We travelled with Astro-Expeditions to observe this eclipse from the small French Polynesian atoll of Hikueru. Arriving on the atoll the day before the eclipse gave us time to find a suitable observation site, and polar-align the Vixen Super Polaris equatorial mount in the evening. From this remote spot in the Pacific Ocean light-pollution was non-existent and the night sky was incredible with the Milky Way stretching from Crux and Centaurus in the south, through Scorpius and Sagittarius, into Cygnus in the north.

Bands of cloud and light rain blew in from the north-east during the night and early on eclipse day. First contact was lost to cloud, but luckily totality was clear apart from a few seconds of thin cloud. More cloud covered the Sun during the post-totality partial phases.

Tupati church

Eclipse site

Site Location (WGS 84)
Longitude: 142 40' 00.2" West
Latitude: 17 32' 37.2" South
Altitude: 0 metres

- Hikueru Atoll, French Polynesia

Predicted Contact times (mean limb, uncorrected for lunar profile) UTC
1st Contact: 17:22:13
2nd Contact: 18:37:06
Mid-eclipse: 18:39:15
3rd Contact: 18:41:24
4th Contact: 20:07:46

Totality: 4 minutes 18 seconds.

Actual Contact times from the photographs (UTC)
2nd Contact: 18:37:02
3rd Contact: 18:41:20

Totality: 4 minutes 18 seconds.

Visual (stopwatch) time

Totality: 4 minutes 17 seconds.

All images taken with Borg 101ED, field-flattener f/5.6, Canon EOS 40D, ISO 100.

17:51:25 hrs.

18:25:39 hrs.

18:37:00 hrs. 2nd Contact
1/4000th second

18:38:22 hrs.
Corona, 63 Geminorum (bottom left) and delta Geminorum (middle right), composite of 9 images 1/125th - 4 seconds

18:41:21 hrs.3rd Contact
1/2000th second

19:14:24 hrs.

19:56:19 hrs.

Back to Eclipse page


Copyright Nick Quinn, 2010 July 22