Report

China-Japan-USA

Annular Solar Eclipse: In the USA, the eclipse path stretched across northern California, southern Oregon, Nevada, southern Utah, southwest Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and ended at sunset in Texas. Eclipse observers were located all along the eclipse path.

Most eclipse chasers are reporting that they saw the eclipse under nearly clear or perfect conditions. A few located in the Texas area had to do a bit of driving to get away from clouds. In NW California there were thin clouds that did not disrupt observing.

Report from Expert Eclipse Chaser David Buchla
For weeks before May 20th's eclipse, I studied maps and weather to try to decide where was going to be the optimum place to view it. I wanted to be on the center line if possible to get the full effect of a symmetrical "ring of fire". We reserved motel accommodations in three cities - Redding, Susanville, and Reno. All indications a couple of days before the big event were that clear skies would encompass all of these, so it came down to finding a spot that suited us that wouldn't be inundated with people. I noticed on the maps a lake north of Susanville "Eagle Lake" and decided that since there was a campground open that it would be my choice. Sunday morning we were on our way by 8:30 am, arriving at Susanville about noon. I didn't realize it, but it was another hour to the campground over mountainous terrain and somewhat winding roads. There are a couple of campgrounds, but at the camp store, which had just opened for the season, we bumped into a very nice couple that had an 11 inch Celestron in the back, so I struck up a conversation. Turns out they had lived at one time in Grass Valley and we had some common friends. They had come down from Idaho and had chosen Eagle Lake, and had set up camp on the lake. We set up next to them and put our equipment together, and enjoyed sharing stories and watching the events unfold. I had taken my Fujinon 6 inch binoculars (with solar filters), a 60 mm Coronado H-alpha scope and a large telephoto lens (and solar filter) for white light photography.

We decided Eagle Lake was misnamed - although there were many birds including Pelicans and one Eagle that we saw, it would be more properly called "Mosquito Lake" as there were an amazing number of them, even during the day. Thank goodness for OFF, which we applied liberally! The clear sky clock had shown perfect weather, but the "sky gods" didn't get the message and it looked a bit ominous at times (see photo of "Eagle Lake"). In spite of the ominous look, we got lucky at eclipse time - the sun/moon were in perfectly clear skies with only clouds on the horizon, not in the view. (One tiny cloud strayed in for a few seconds during the partial phase, but it doesn't count). The four of us watched and enjoyed a beautiful sight as the moon gradually covered the sun. We watched as large sunspot regions gradually were covered. We had a few fun pinhole projection objects - a cheese grater, some sort of "holy bowl" Lorraine uses in the kitchen (but I cannot provide the scientific name but I think is a vegetable drainer), and my drilled out pictures from previous eclipse adventures (mainly my "Dragon eating the Sun" creation). Just before second contact, I took the camera off the telephoto lens and shot a couple of photos of shadow patterns (see attached). I had two cameras with me, so I had left the one on the H-alpha scope, because I figured it was trickier to focus precisely.

As anyone who has ever attended and eclipse knows, the time when things are (in Eric Holder's words) "fast and furious", is fleeting indeed. I put the camera back on the telephoto lens and reset it to what I believed was "Time" mode, but unfortunately (in hindsight) probably out it in "Aperture" mode. I proceeded to shoot a whole bunch of shots but unfortunately, was spinning the dial for aperture changes, which were already maxed out and got a dozen identical and slightly over exposed shots! So much for the that batch! Oh well. I did get some nice shots of the partial phases however. I buzzed over to the H-alpha scope and kept shooting photos. I had some times figured out that I wanted to shoot (from practice runs a few days before) but didn't think about them enough. I did get some nice shots, but should have gotten more exposures, so that I could pick and choose what I liked later. While I am not too unhappy with my results, they don't match my expectations.

Hydrogen alpha image
Hydrogen alpha image after some enhancement

Did you see this eclipse? Add your name to the log and upload some pictures!

Personal comment: Annular solar eclipses are fun to observe but not worth making great efforts to see. They are teasers when compared to total solar eclipses. That said, it is still fun to gather with fellow eclipse chasers and watch the majestic movements of the solar system. And thus we violated a simple rule of thumb and flew to California to enjoy the eclipse with friends. Our set up at Shasta Lake Dam was well attended with many people looking through the telescope we had set up. Denise took excellent pictures using a 400mm lens and Canon DSLR. Made some new friends and really enjoyed spending the afternoon in Northern California. This one was worth flying to see.

Links to external websites

Alson Wong in Arizonia
Dan McGlaun Big Spring State Park, TX
David Kodama, Nevada
Mr Eclipse gallery - great pictures
Jay Andersons Weather Analysis
Ben Cooper - Launch Phatography
Williams College group (Jay Pasachoff)
Evan Zucker images from western Texas
James Kevin Ty in Xiamen, Fujian , China
Xavier Jubier at Lake Powell AZ
David Makepeace video about the ASE
Lake Almanor CA pictures by Hiram Clawson
Stephan Heinsius pictures and report (auf Deutsch)

List presented in random order

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