2024 MAZATLAN TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE RESULTS 2024-05-10T10:56:27-05:00

2024 MAZATLAN TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE RESULTS

2nd contact, totality and 3rd contact as seen from the Dreams Hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico on April 8, 2024. Lawrence Tulissi photos.

Our Mazatlan, Mexico group was composed of 260 people led by Dr. Tamara Ledley, Ted Blank, Dr. David Haviland and Richard Nugent. Plans were to deploy everyone except 106 at the Dreams Hotel on the beach with the remaining group bussed to our emergency backup site (called the EBS) two hours north by bus as an insurance policy against fog.  However, on eclipse day, April 8 it was determined that widespread mid-level and high clouds would really impact the EBS to such an extreme that remaining at the hotel was the best option for everyone. It turned out that was the right call.

We arrived at Mazatlan airport on Friday and were greeted by Direct Travel representatives who directed us to luxury coaches for transport to the Dreams Mazatlan Estrella del Mar hotel, a brand new hotel where we were the first guests!

Dreams sign. Ted Blank photo.

A scrumptious outdoor buffet dinner was waiting for us as we arrived, including a Mariachi band, dancers and singers.  After checking in to our rooms we headed to the covered lobby area for our welcome briefing by Direct Tours and introductions of the DT staff and science team.

Mariachis on our arrival. Marlene Kirton photo.

The all-inclusive nature of Dreams Estrella del Mar meant that you could choose any restaurant for dinner without needing reservations, and all meals were included.  The World Café offered buffet dining while several specialty restaurants offered seafood, Asian fusion and steak house delights.  A coffee shop was open 24 hours.

On Saturday morning after breakfast we assembled for our eclipse safety briefing followed by observing the Sun in a safe solar telescope.  Around noon those who wished departed for a tour of downtown Mazatlan, returning around 6:00 PM.  After dinner a telescope was set up for evening observing with a laser tour of the constellations.

On Sunday morning we visited our private reserved eclipse viewing site and people who brought camera equipment had the opportunity to check out and test their gear during the exact time the eclipse would occur the next day.  This ensured that they would be set up in a place with good sight lines to the sun during the actual eclipse.

The expansive private viewing site at the Golf Course Club House by the ocean. Ted Blank photo.

Practicing at the private viewing site on April 7. Marlene Kirton photo.

We returned to the hotel and received a weather briefing on both the Dreams and Emergency Backup Site (EBS).  Weather at both sites appeared similar, with only high clouds predicted. Following that we were treated to a presentation about the NASA helicopter on Mars (nicknamed “Ingenuity”) and how it survived 72 successful flights on the red planet which has only 1% of the atmosphere we have here on Earth.  This was followed by relaxing around the pool and more solar observing where we saw sunspots and solar prominences around the edge of the sun in the solar telescope, and an opportunity to enjoy some evening telescope observing as well.

Emergency Backup Site located near the village of Pino Real. Paul Maley photo.

Emergency Backup Site satellite view (huge center rectangular area at the tip of leftmost arrow) which provided multiple acreage with a clear horizon.

The final weather models updated at 10PM on Sunday night.  Ted reviewed them and noted that the EBS site weather was more likely to have high *and* middle clouds than the Dreams site, which was only predicted to have high (thin) clouds.   So Ted met the buses at 5am on eclipse day and advised the guests who had pre-paid for EBS bus tickets to stay at Dreams, and in the end everyone did.

Eclipse day dawned bright and sunny, with only thin high clouds as predicted.    The buses arranged for the backup site were used to transport people to the private reserved viewing area about ¼ mile from the hotel.  Our observing field was quite large so everyone had plenty of space to spread out, and palm frond mats and chairs were provided to make observing comfortable.  A filtered white-light telescope and a Hydrogen-alpha solar telescope were available the entire time for people to enjoy observing the partial phases of the eclipse.

Ted Blank sharing H Alpha scope views with participants. Marlene Kirton photo.

At second contact totality began!  Solar filters could now be removed and for over four minutes the beauty of the eclipsed sun was enjoyed by all.  A huge pink solar prominence was visible jutting out from the edge of the sun at lower right along with several smaller prominences.  Baily’s beads were visible as the moon completely covered and then uncovered the sun, and the “diamond ring” effect was visible at both second and third contacts.   Guests without their own telescopes or binoculars were treated to views of the solar corona through the telescope, and totality went by faster than anyone could imagine 4 minutes lasting.  Safety whistles were blown to inform guests when it was safe to remove eclipse glasses and filters, and when totality was within 15 seconds of ending as a reminder to put back on eclipse glasses and filters.  Quite a few guests stayed at Dreams resort and enjoyed viewing the eclipse from a lounge chair by the pool, with a few even observing in the pool itself.  Group photos were taken at each location to celebrate the event.

Post-eclipse, the hotel provided another fantastic outdoor buffet for lunch and almost before we could digest our lunch another buffet dinner and show was prepared for us followed by fireworks to celebrate the successful viewing of one of Mother Nature’s grandest spectacles.  Direct Travel purchased eclipse stamps and sent out thank-you cards to all the guests (and thanks to Peggy for cutting up the stamp sheets into individual stamps!)

The next morning we took our buses to the Mazatlan airport and boarded our return charter to Houston, ready to plan our next total eclipse trip.  Eclipses can be addicting!

THE ECLIPSE

Here is a compendium of eclipse photos taken by our team.

Threatening high cloud. Stephen Garcia photo.

Sun crescents easily seen before and after totality; photographed by the pool on the newly planted trees whose leaves were verified after planting in March as ideal for this purpose. Sherry Campbell photo.

Golf Club House private site with mats provided and two tents for shade.  Ted Blank photo.

Image projection by _________ of partial phases under the tent. Marlene Kirton photo.

Eclipse setup between the hotel and beachfront. Ted Blank photo.

Partial eclipse. Vicki Wagner photo.

 

The diamond ring at second contact. Stephen Garcia photo.

2nd contact Baily’s Beads. Stephen Garcia photo.

Prominences and chromosphere at 2nd contact. Richard Nugent photo.

Prominences and inner corona. Jim Wagner photo.

The corona. Albert Wang photo.

The corona. Jim Wagner photo.

The corona. Calvin Lacy photo.

Inner corona. Stephen Garcia photo.

Some thin cirrus with Venus to the right of the totally eclipsed Sun.  Jim Wagner photo.

A parasailer partially eclipses the totally eclipsed Sun.  Stephen Garcia photo.

The corona. Sam Iredale photo.

TO SEE A VIDEO ACCOUNT FROM BEFORE 2ND CONTACT TO AFTER 3RD CONTACT, WATCH  https://youtu.be/kTBVV7bIWBs  This video was shot by Johanna Ledley.

The corona plus prominences and diamond rings at both 2nd and 3rd contacts. Lawrence Tulissi photos.

A 360 degree view of totality (without the Sun in the field of view) featuring the sunset horizon, cirrus cloud and the photographer.  Matt Biddulph photo.

 

The totally eclipsed Sun with Venus to the right and Jupiter to the lower left edge. Leo Campbell photo.

Prominences near 3rd contact. Rob Appel photo.

Prominences as 3rd contact approaches. Charles Pevsner photo.

 

Sequence 1 of 3: First Baily’s Bead at 3rd contact, prominences and chromosphere. Stephen Garcia photo.

Sequence 2 of 3: Two Baily’s Beads and prominences at 3rd contact as a prelude to the diamond ring. Stephen Garcia photo.

Sequence 3 of 3: Diamond Ring by Stephen Garcia

3rd contact and inner corona. Rob Appel photo.

Prominences, chromosphere and Diamond Ring at 3rd contact. David Haviland photo.

Stephen Garcia eclipse montage.

A montage of eclipse phases. Lawrence Tulissi photos.

A composite of the entire eclipse process from first to fourth contacts. David Haviland photo.

Eclipse progression composite 1 by Charles Pevsner.

2nd and 3rd contact composite by Charles Pevsner.

SCIENCE ACTIVITY

There was real science being conducted by Dr. Germar Bernhard who originally planned to either join us at Dreams or at the EBS. However in the intervening months he was invited to set up his equipment at Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología in Mazatlan where he observed the eclipse. The primary goal of his project is to determine whether a solar eclipse will lead to measurable changes in the “total ozone column”, which is the amount of ozone between the Earth’s surface and the top of the atmosphere. The second goal is to compare the intensity of solar radiation measured during totality at the Earth’s surface with results from computer simulations.

Dr. Germar Bernhard with his equipment.  Photo by Annie Hoppe.

The eclipse site for the science effort.  Photo by Germar Bernhard.

Germar Bernhard presenting previous work on his project to Institute personnel in Mazatlan prior to the eclipse.  Photo by Annie Hoppe.

MISCELLANEOUS

 

Amazing food by the pool. Ted Blank photo.

Massive pool buffet for the group. Ted Blank photo.

Sun viewing by  _________. Ted Blank photo.

Early riser eclipse food. Marlene Kirton photo.

The solar viewing scope and session.  Peggy Yeargain photo.

Pool group photo. David Haviland photo.

Partial group photo following the eclipse. Richard Nugent photo.

Setting up at the private site.  Stephen A. Garcia photo.

First view of the Moon after the eclipse against the Dreams Hotel.  P Campbell photo.

An eclipse model of a unique sort.  Photo by Annie Hoppe

Brown boobie. Albert Wang photo.

Masked boobie. Albert Wang photo.

Flying fish. Albert Wang photo.

Outdoor dining. Ted Blank photo.

Fireworks at Dreams. Peggy Yeargain photo.

Ted providing a weather update. Peggy Yeargain photo.

Solar eclipse briefing given by Tamara Ledley.  Ted Blank photo.

Expanding the presentation room. Marlene Kirton photo.

Weather briefing for both sites given by Ted Blank. Peggy Yeargain photo.

Eclipse desk. Ted Blank photo.

The stamp issued in honor of this eclipse. Richard Nugent photo.

Typical Dreams Hotel room photo. Connie Haviland photo.

Dancers. Connie Haviland photo.