A Total Eclipse Family Event – 8/21/17

My wife and I (and Sandy Paws, the dog,) journeyed about 750 miles (1200 km) from New Jersey to see and photograph the Total Solar Eclipse last week, meeting up with most of our immediate family for an unforgettable, awesome event which none of us, including the youngest, will ever forget.

Through a very dense solar filter, these first two images show the moon in silhouette, moving slowly from upper right to lower left across the sun. Click on to see the sunspots near the center, and lower left limb.

Totality descended rapidly in the final seconds… exposing this unreal, and unforgetable sight, joined by gasps and “Oh my God, it’s beautiful (s)..” Fontana Village is a resort in western North Carolina, today within the “path of totality,” a ~70 mile (113 km) shadow area – this time moving west to east across the United States. Above,  the sun’s outer corona is captured.
Above: Totally eclipsed over two minutes, the sun just ….reappears. This shorter exposure shows the inner corona and solar flares (reddish bursts to the right and lower right of the sun,) often referred to as the ‘Diamond Ring effect.”
As the moon continues along, gradually exposing more of the sun… the strong filters and solar glasses are again required, as the landscape moves from deep twilight to full daylight in a little over an hour.
Besides finding it hard to concentrate on the quickly changing demands of eclipse photography, the totality is unlike anything you could ever experience. Spontaneous applause and cheers welled up from the field in a unified expression of being witness to something extraordinary.

Accompanied in the field by our children, their children; my brother and sister-in-law, and Sandy Paws, we appreiciated such a beautiful day for an exceptional event just south of the Great Smoky Mountains.
As usual, click on the images for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M ūüôā

Mid-day Sun Disappears on Cloudless Day – Total Eclipse, 45 Years Ago

March 7th, 1970: Jeanne and I, now engaged, traveled to Virginia Beach, Va., to see a rare total eclipse of the sun, 

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 9.26.36 AM
We chose to drive down the Jersey Shore; across the Delaware Bay by ferry; through¬†the sparsly populated Del-Mar-Va Peninsula; across the recently opened 17 mile Chesepeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to Norfolk, and then over to Virginia Beach to be in the center of the several-mile wide “path of totality,” or shadow of the moon.

As the the partial phase began, hundreds of spectators were already in place with telescopes, cameras, and blankets! (The cold Atlantic Ocean is to the left.)12.044     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-1

Below: Using eye protection, viewers carefully watched as the moon slid across the sun, casting an eerie pale on the beach, which just a while earlier was bathed in brilliant sunshine. Note the twilight-like coloring near the horizon. This was about 1:00 PM12.048     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-1 - Version 2

Below: The moments before totality were enhanced by silence from usually gabby shorebirds.12.060     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-1

My equipment was laughable, and getting “text book” images was not to happen. But except for a slight double image, this was what appeared a¬†second before totality – a pheneomena called Baily’s Beads, where the last rays of the sun pass through the mountain valleys and topography of the moon.12.061     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-1

The Corona, not ordinarily visible, is the plasma atmosphere of the sun. It is seen here with the sun totally blocked by the moon.12.064     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-1

Jeanne, tolerant of my varied and questionable interests, would put that to the test in the next few hours as restauranteurs did not anticipate the overwhelming flow of hungry travelers up the Eastern Shore later that afternoon. Finding a place to EAT was an unanticipated challenge.12.079     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-1

A 10x “finder scope” with Neutral Density filter¬†strapped to an¬†¬†EXA SLR – on a¬†flimsy tripod proved interesting, but inadequate. It was only matched by my lack of experience¬†in better capturing this event. ¬†12.082     3-7-70    Solar Exclipse Trip, Norfolk, Virginia._edited-2

The filter needed to be removed for the total phase, which lasted an unusually long 3 minutes.

In a little under¬†24 hours, Jeanne and I drove¬†about 800 miles in our¬†1967 MGB-GT to see the eclipse. Couldn’t get much better!¬†

12.086     3-14-70 Jersey City, MGB-GT and Jeanne, probable date_edited-1

Final Note: There are usually several total solar eclipses visible somewhere on earth every year, but the next one¬†passing ¬†along the Eastern US would be 54 years later, in…2024. A MAJOR¬†correction here: 8/21/17 will see a TSE stretching across the US exiting off the South Carolina coast.¬†

Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcomed. M ūüôā