The 2015 total solar eclipse, from Longyearbyen, Norway

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LONGYEARBYEN, Norway, March 20, 2015 – I’ve been interested in astronomy ever since I was a kid. Late last year I left my job as an AFP news photographer to pursue a documentary project – as well as the night sky and astronomy photography that I love. I’ll shoot any kind of event like this, and I’ve seen partial eclipses before – but I’ve always wanted to see a total solar eclipse.

totalA friend from the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York told me in November he planned to travel for the event to Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago, one of only two places with the Faroe Islands which would be experiencing “totality”. I looked at the organizers’ website and it all looked very professional, so I signed up. …

Day one was spent dog sledding and generally getting a feel for the place. … We heard of an incident that night, a tourist who was mauled by a roaming polar bear. But I must say we always felt safe in our group: there has been a guard with a rifle on every outing we made outside the town.

The morning of the eclipse, I arrived at the viewing site at around 7:30 am, with a group of people wanted to go early to set up their equipment. It was -17 Celsius. But despite the cold, people were very excited. The weather was perfectly clear. … The thing that surprised me was how dark it got. Like a deep twilight, I couldn’t read my camera controls at first. When it went total, there was a big noise from the crowd and some cheering. The total part lasted over two minutes, but it actually seemed like a long time.


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