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Eclipse report

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Eclipse report

Postby balzaccom » Sun May 20, 2012 9:34 pm

Since I am an enthusiastic amateur astronomer, I drove up to a wide spot in the road between Red Bluff and Lassen so that I could watch the moon eat the sun...and have a little sun left over.

There were a few other hardy souls who braved the 96 degree heat, some with telescopes, others with welding glasses. I used a couple of solar filters from my telescope making days to cut down on the intense light.

As the eclipse began, it looked like a lot of other eclipses I've seen. But then the moon covered more and more of the sun...until a ring of sun slowly began to encircle the black ball of the moon. And even then, with 95% of the sun obscured, it was still far to bright to look at with your naked eye. The landscape around grew rather darker and shadowy.

And then the ring of light closed around the moon made a full circle...a perfect circle. It held that shape for a few minutes, and then you could see the moon beginning to drift off center...and break through the ring of light. The spheres of the universe slowly continued on their way.

And then it was over. Handshakes and smiles all around, and then back in the car to drive home again.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun May 20, 2012 10:34 pm

It wasn't that great in Bakersfield. The moon coved about half the sun from the bottom and then circled counter clockwise around the sun never covering more then half of it.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Mon May 21, 2012 7:39 am

Here in Auburn it was good viewing. I drove up Foresthill Road a bit to be closer to the center of the eclipse and while we didn't get a perfect circle of sun, it was very close. We viewed it with a few homemade box viewers and they worked great. And it was still very bright at the maximum. Although I don't think he truly comprehended the event, it was great to share it with my 4-year old son.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 21, 2012 8:51 am

We sat out on our driveway, sipping wine and viewing the gradual darkness. It took quite a while to get dark and I probably sipped too much wine waiting! The peak darkness was very subdued and peaceful. The best eclipse I have seen was several years ago, driving down I-5 towards Kings Canyon. It was foggy and the sun was a yellow ball. I did not even know there was an eclipse and was surprised when the yellow ball started to be covered. It was not a full eclipse but the viewing conditions were prefect.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby Jimr » Mon May 21, 2012 9:00 am

I thought the marine layer would obscure viewing, but to my surprise, there was just enough overcast to view the event with the naked eye. It was a lot of fun. The kids and I stood out in the back yard watching when the cloud cover was sufficient enough to knock the light down for unaided viewing, then turn away when it was too bright, then wait for another view when it was too thick. It was directly viewable for about 50% of the event period; on again, off again. At max coverage, the sun was a crescent with about 80% coverage. As it waned, the crescent slowly turned points up. There was none of the eerie low light aura that is present when an event like this happens high in the sky because we are used to the sun being obscured by marine layer during it's waning hours. My kids had a blast watching this type of event for the first time in their life. At times, you could get a feel for depth, reminding us that this was a near object passing in front of a far object.

My wife was sitting at a coffee shop at the beach with a friend. Her experience, just a couple of miles from me, was a red-orange sunset event while the kids and I got a white light event. It's amazing the difference a couple of miles can make.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby tim » Mon May 21, 2012 5:43 pm

We went to Pyramid Lake in Nevada, right on the center line, and had a great afternoon - swimming in the lake followed by the eclipse. A lot of people were there, but not many went all the way down the dirt road to the beach. Here's a few photos.

DSC01158.jpg
Just starting

DSC01184.jpg
Getting there

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Perfect circle

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Afterwards
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby LMBSGV » Mon May 21, 2012 9:17 pm

Love your photos, Tim. It's interesting to see the different angle of the moon's passing in comparison to what we saw.

My wife and I went to Sky Camp in Point Reyes. I was a near perfect afternoon there- sunny and warm (if you know Pt. Reyes you’ll understand how great this is). We had our “eclipse glasses” and enjoyed the first 45 minutes from our campsite until the sun went behind the tall pines. We went down to the meadow by the group camp where the view of the sun was spectacular - Drakes Bay and the peninsula below the slowly disappearing sun. I took photos of the changing light on the landscape (gorgeous, especially on the trees) and attempted a couple of eclipse shots. (Since I still shoot film, I’ll have to wait to see what came out).

There were only three other people in the meadow. None of them were prepared for watching the eclipse, so we loaned them our glasses so they could see it properly. Another couple came by and they were also without glasses. My wife and I found it a little strange they were all so unprepared - sort of like going in the backcountry and not knowing you have to secure your food from bears. None of them stayed around to watch for long so we had the meadow to ourselves most of the time.

The “ring of fire” from our vantage point was about 3/4 of the sun - stunning. We stayed in the meadow and watched as the passing moon turned the sun into a perfect Cheshire cat smile and then a larger and larger smile until it finally passed through. A covey of quail were nearby the entire time we were in the meadow, calling, feeding, flitting here and there around us. They gave the whole experience this sense of the natural world going through its daily cycles while simultaneously this unusual, rare, beautiful natural event was took place. It was an evening we’ll always treasure.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby Eiprahs » Mon May 21, 2012 10:35 pm

I wanted to view this eclipse when I found out the eclipse path centered on Northern California. I scheduled a long overdue family visit for the weekend, and caught the eclipse from the summit of Black Butte on my return trip.

Image
The hike was well worth the effort.

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Mt Shasta appears to be blowing its stack.

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Beginning.

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Almost.

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Eye of Sauron?

The light was amazing during the eclipse. Colors became more nuanced and contrast was reduced. Totally gorgeous. And my camera was unable to capture that magic. Here are two photos taken in ''normal" (pre-eclipse) and eclipse light.

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Mt. Eddy (9025 ft) from Black Butte, normal light.

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Mt. Eddy in eclipse light.

I was lucky to have been in such a scenic spot for the eclipse.

--Eiprahs
Last edited by Eiprahs on Wed May 23, 2012 8:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby tim » Mon May 21, 2012 10:45 pm

Next up is the Transit of Venus on the afternoon of Tuesday June 5 (from about 3pm until sunset at a bit after 8pm). Its not quite as spectacular but still visible with the naked eye through eclipse glasses. Doesn't matter where you are - it will be visible across North America.

Time to feel your mortality because it won't happen again until 2117!
See transitofvenus.org for more details.
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby tim » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:13 am

Here's a couple of photos from yesterday's Transit of Venus. Also fascinating to watch even if a bit less spectacular than the eclipse. Definitely much better with the telescope!

DSC01375.jpg
Early on

DSC01383.jpg
Later in the afternoon
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Re: Eclipse report

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:46 pm

I took this photo with my Blackberry through a friend's telescope here in Napa. And with the annular exclipse earlier this year, it's been a good astronomy show in 2012!

Image

the odd blue light on the right is an optical effect...
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