Eclipse Highlights

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Our site in eastern Oregon at sunset the night before the eclipse. Note the worrisome clouds (also a sun dog just over the horizon at center). This was on remote BLM land at the end of about 15 miles of dirt road, shared by a few hearty open-range cows.

We slept in the grasses where the cows normally do (except on pads in sleeping bags): they came by at sunset and stared in disbelief at our sudden presence: we had to persuade them to sleep elsewhere. This is the view before sunrise from my sleeping spot. Life as a cow could be worse.

Sunrise through a solar filter against the distant horizon, through some thin clouds (1/100 sec; ISO 500; f/12.7).

Skies were clear on the morning of the eclipse, after obsessively following forecasts and positioning ourselves where clear skies looked most likely. The canopy keeps the mounted photographic equipment shaded, moving closer as the sun rises higher.

Equipment on a beefy equatorial telescope mount, consisting of a Nikon D7000 attached to a 102 mm aperture 1300 mm focal length Maksutov telescope and a Nikon D80 using a 70–300 mm lens operating at 240 mm and f/8. Both have filters in front of the lenses for the partial phase. Raspberry Pi computers and customized rotary switches control the camera exposure sequences, so that I could spend more time gawking and absorbing.

Waiting for the big event. This is two minutes before "first contact" when the Moon first touches the solar disk. About 45 minutes later, the sun was covered enough that we no longer wanted shade or sunglasses. Black surfaces in the sunlight were cool to the touch!

The moon takes the first bite out of the sun at 9:10 AM (right side). Note the sunspots. This is through the 1300 mm lens (1/1000 sec; ISO 500; f/12.7).

Getting thin, about 15 seconds before totality (1/1000 sec; ISO 500; f/12.7). This is the last shot through the filter: what follows is wide-open.

The last moment of sunlight peeping around the edge of the Moon, forming "Baily's Beads" where sunlight comes through valleys on the Moon's rough edge (1/1600 sec; ISO 125; f/12.7).

The chromosphere is visible around the edge of the Moon when the last of the stunningly bright photosphere is blocked (this photo is about 7 seconds after the previous). The pink glow is due to hydrogen emission lines (a red one and a blue-green one, combined). (1/1600 s; ISO 125; f/12.7)

Baily's Beads through the 240 mm lens. Most of the remaining shots are from this camera, rotated differently from the previous views (1/3200 s; ISO 100; f/8).

Mid-eclipse wide-angle view (18 mm lens; 1/5 s; ISO 400; f/4; Nikon D3100).

Inner corona near the end of the eclipse, showing also solar prominences along the top (1/100 s; ISO 100; f/8).

First attempt at HDR (high dynamic range) composite of several images. The brightness of the corona varies greatly, so that no one exposure captures all the structure; this composite comes closer to what it looks like to the eye in real time, but no display is capable of a faithful rendering. Note a few stars in the field, including Regulus at bottom center (zoom and pan to find more). Note also the dimly recognizable face of the Moon!

Chromosphere at eclipse end, showing flares and innermost corona (1/800 s; ISO 100; f/8).

Diamond Ring effect after photosphere pops back out (1/100 s; ISO 100; f/8).

The tailgate says it all.