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News Release

Pitcairn Islands Study Center, 1 Angwin Avenue, Angwin, California USA 94508
Herbert Ford - 559-732-0313 - - Fax: 559-734-1674


Pitcairn Island, South Pacific Ocean, July 1, 2019 --- When the only total solar eclipse of 2019 passes almost directly over this small South Seas isle on July 2, 2019, the handful of people on it will be celebrating two high-as-the-sky happenings: the eclipse itself, and the Pitcairn Islands being officially designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Oeno, one of the four islands of the Pitcairn Islands group, is where two ships loaded with astronomers, scientists, journalists, Astro-tourists and others having special interest in eclipses will converge this evening (July 1) to observe the eclipse tomorrow (July 2).

Oeno is located about 90 miles northwest of Pitcairn, the only inhabited island of the group. Pitcairn lies roughly midway between Panama and New Zealand.

Those on the two ships - the cruise ship Paul Gaugin and the freighter Silver Supporter - called at Pitcairn Island under rainy and windy conditions on the afternoon and evening of June 30 and are hoping to find clear skies and calm sea conditions when they reach Oeno sometime this morning (July 1).

The eclipse those on the ships are hoping to view will be the first total solar eclipse anywhere in the world after the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017.

Tomorrow (July 2) on Pitcairn Island there will be day-long celebrations that mark the inauguration of the Pitcairn Islands having just been named as the world's newest International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA).

The designation makes Pitcairn the only island group in the world to be granted this status, as well as the first British territory to become an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. The Pitcairn sanctuary is named Mata ki te Rangi which means Eyes to the Skies. It spans all four islands of the group (Pitcairn, Oeno, Henderson, and Ducie) and covers a total area of 520,000 square miles.

This International Dark Sky Sanctuary designation means everything in the world of night sky conservation and Astro-tourism. Pitcairn Island is preparing for an increase in Astro-tourists with the training of local night sky guides, and enactment of new anti-light pollution guidelines to maintain its crystal-clear night skies.

It was in late 1789, that mutinous sailors from the ship H.M.S. Bounty landed and settled on Pitcairn Island, hoping that the island's remote location would help them escape British justice for their having mutinied against their captain, William Bligh. Except for two emigrations of the entire population away from the island - once in the 1830s to Tahiti, and to Norfolk Island in 1856 - Pitcairn has been continuously inhabited.

Pitcairn Island, characterized as a "high" Pacific island, is the above-water portion of an extinct volcano, roughly one mile wide by two miles long.


Pitcairn Islands Study Center, 1 Angwin Ave., Angwin, CA, USA.
Herbert Ford - 559-732-0313 - - Fax: 559-734-1674