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Solar Eclipse Pitcairn Islands


Photographing bodies of the earth, sea and sky

Dr Ian Griffin, Otago Museum Director, and Kane Fleury, Assistant Curator, Natural Sciences, are setting sail for the Pitcairn Islands to observe and photograph a total solar eclipse. The eclipse occurs on 2 July, on a small, remote atoll called Oeno Island that is part of the Pitcairn Island group. If weather permits, observers on Oeno will see the sun entirely covered by the moon for nearly three minutes.  

Otago Museum has unique connections with the Pitcairn Islands, having archaeological artefacts as well as parts of the famous HMS Bounty (an 18th century ship whose crew mutinied, and who are the ancestors of many of today’s Pitcairn Islanders) in the Museum collection.

Oeno Island is a remarkable setting for the eclipse and the occasion will be marked by the Pitcairn community’s official launch of their International Dark Sky Sanctuary, which the Otago Museum staff are thrilled to be a part of.

The Pitcairn Islands lie in one of the world’s largest marine reserves and Mr Fleury is hoping to use this opportunity to document the many species of plants, fish, birds and animals that live there.

“There are very few images of these from the Pitcairn Islands, and the photographs will serve as observational records of any species that I can photograph while I am there,” said Mr Fleury as he prepared for the journey. Photographs and videos of the eclipse and wildlife will be sent back to New Zealand as soon as there is internet access available.

Otago Museum is looking forward to discussing the Pitcairn Island’s contribution to their collection and consolidating the special relationship it has with the territory.  Museum Director Ian Griffin will be giving a talk about the Museum’s Pitcairn material to the Islanders when he is on the Island.