What is an annular eclipse? The moons orbit is elliptical and its distance varies from 221,000 to 252,000 miles
What is an annular eclipse? The moons orbit is elliptical and its distance varies from 221,000 to 252,000 miles At its closest distance it covers the face of the Sun perfectly at total eclipse.
What is an annular eclipse? The moons orbit is elliptical and its distance varies from 221,000 to 252,000 miles At its furthest distance it does not quite cover the Sun creating the Ring of Fire.
The decision Successful observation of specific astronomical events is risky at best When stacked against the expense of a trip with no guarantees it becomes a hard decision Plan first and wait until the last week before the eclipse to decide... seemed reasonable
Scouting out the best location There were many factors at play Likelihood of good weather Being close to the centreline of the eclipse path How much of the eclipse I could see before the eclipse reached the horizon
Planning Examine the eclipse path Google Streetview Contact locals Transporting the equipment safely
Choices Narrowed investigation to 3 Oregon – riskier weather prospects Utah – in the middle New Mexico – horizon line potentially not as low Each had their good and bad points but in the end I chose Cedar City, Utah
The gear Portable telescope Solar filter DSLR Camera Point and Shoot Camera Tripod Tablet computer Backpack to allow for carry-on of equipment on plane
Impulse ticket purchase I monitored the weather and flights for several weeks 1 week before the eclipse the weather was looking to be a sure thing in Cedar City Available flights were getting scarcer and the price was going up Buy now!
On the way there It was a busy Friday morning doing last minute packing to meet a Sunday evening eclipse So much planning and deliberation and now I was on the plane It was an evening flight and half way through the trip I looked out to see the belt of Venus and Venus shining brightly above it
Unpacking and the big surprise After waiting for a taxi at 11pm and arriving at my lodgings I could finally put up my feet and get some sleep I thought I may as well check out the equipment to see if everything had survived No casualties How about a few test shots... Big surprise the camera cant reach focus
Unpacking and the big surprise Not an uncommon occurrence to forget an extension tube when youre only 15 minutes from home It didnt take long to realize my only options for buying my way out of this dilemma were Home Depot and Walmart
Afocal photography to the rescue The point and shoot camera in my pack would end up saving the day The principle behind afocal photography is that you capture images from your telescope by setting the focus of your camera to infinity and placing the lens where your eye would go Beautifully simple and effective
Afocal photography Telescope focused for the eye Camera set for infinity positioned where the eye is normally
Breakfast with the eclipse hunters The next morning I had continental breakfast at the motel I realized I wasnt the only one here to see the eclipse There were many eclipse hunters from Utah converging on Cedar City prized for its proximity to the centreline Not far away was Kanarraville the Sweet Spot
The evening of the eclipse I left the motel early to grab something to eat before trekking to the vantage point The grassy knoll near the road seemed like an ideal spot, avoiding the sprinklers from the night before I could see people with their blankets and their solar eclipse glasses gathering around A couple that I had met at the Aquatic Centre asked if they could join me
Observation vs. photography With afocal photography I was going to be able to both view and photograph This situation also allowed me to share my experience with those around me By some strange fate I actually got to view an eclipse as opposed to seeing it only through the viewfinder of a camera
The eclipse The weather conditions were perfect The crowd was attentive as we waited for that first bite out of the Sun There were cheers as it started We watched as the bite got bigger and bigger until we could see the fine tapered horns that precede the main attraction At the central point I could hear the kids chanting Ring of Fire, Ring of Fire