Staring at the Sun, 72

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10/24/2014. Me and My Baby View the Eclipse. Apologies to Lee Smith for borrowing her title for this post. Amy and I took the RV and the dogs up to the Mount Pisgah campground for the night. I hoped to find a good overlook for yesterday's eclipse. It was a partial eclipse, not particularly deep, but near maximum at sunset. That suggested there might be something well worth photographing. I needed a low western horizon; I wanted a distant ridge line and interesting clouds. Didn't we find just the spot at the Buck Spring Gap overlook! Here's the "money shot" grabbed just a couple of minutes before sunset:



Solar Eclipse
Buck Spring Gap Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway
Mount Pisgah, North Carolina
October 23, 2014
Questar 3.5 / Canon 6D


Note the aircraft to the lower left of the Sun just beginning to underline the eclipse with its contrail. I didn't see it until I was reviewing my photos. If anybody wants to try to determine what flight that is, how far away, etc., here are the circumstances of the photo:

Lat: 35.4151
Long: -82.7485
Alt: 4,980 feet

Time: 18:35:59 EDT on October 23, 2014.
(Note: the file is timestamped 18:41:10, but 1 day later the USNO says the camera time is mis-set, that it's marking files too late by 5m11s. The corrected time is shown.)

Geometric altitude of the center of the Sun (uncorrected for refraction): 1.06 degrees
Azimuth: 254.84 degrees

More photos to come by and by. Also some snaps of our impromptu eclipse viewing party and video of two dogs howling at a fiddle. It's always interesting when we go out observing.



Except where noted, solar photos are made with a ZWO Optical ASI120MM camera (ca. June 2013) behind a Lunt Solar Systems 60mm THa with its objective replaced by an Orion 90mm F10 achromat. The telescope uses a B600 blocking filter and is mounted piggyback with an Astro-Tech 10-inch Ritchey-Chretien (carefully capped!) on an Astro-Physics Mach1GTO mount. A Dell Latitude notebook running FireCapture provides camera control and capture services via USB 2.0. Images typically begin as 400 - 1200 frame AVI's captured at about 27 fps. Clips are aligned and stacked using AVIStack 2.0. The resulting files are processed via wavelet functions in Registax and / or the FocusMagic 3.0.2 deconvolution plug-in in Photoshop CS4. Alternatively, PixInsight picks up the processing somewhere in the workflow after AVIStack processing. The imaging train usually includes an Orion "Shorty" 2x barlow screwed into the ASI120MM body. A RoboFocus motor with a timing belt looped around the stock (or, sometimes, a Feathertouch) focus knob enables remote operation.


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                   © 2014, David Cortner