March 29, 2020

Astronomy Video of the Week: Ode to a Solar Eclipse

The end of totality over the Faroes.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Schnuffel2002/under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

The sight of a total solar eclipse is pure unforgettable magic. The March 20th, 2015 total solar eclipse provided a unique artistic backdrop for a live musical performance. As the shadow of the Moon touched down over the North Atlantic and raced towards the Faroe Islands, the Faroese metal band Hamferđ (the ‘đ’ is a voiced dental fricative pronounced like the ‘th’ in the English word father) was ready.

The eclipse would only provide for one take, and totality over the Faroe Islands only lasted two minutes and 11 seconds. Then of course, there was the fickle North Atlantic weather to contend with. This drove many an eclipse-chaser to the Svalbard islands farther north, the other site from which to view the only total solar eclipse of 2015.

But the universe cooperated, and the band’s performance of Deyđir Varđar (Killing Concerns) is haunting to say the least:

Hamferđ is an award winning band hailing from the Faroe Islands. The band carried out the performance during the eclipse just outside of the village of Kvívík. You can see the light levels dim, as shadow bands race across the landscape and the band plays on through the false night of totality.

This brings to mind the crucifixion scene of the 1961 film Barabbas, also shot in one take during a total solar eclipse.

When’s the next chance to rock out under totality? That would be March 9th, 2016, when the shadow of the Moon crosses the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

See you there!

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