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
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
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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
Evan Zucker images from western Texas
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