Staring @ the Sun, 116

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An Eclipse I Did Not Chase

10/15/2023. Yesterday,
there was an annular eclipse of the Sun. The path of annularity crossed some of my favorite landscapes, but I did not chase. I had plans but opted to keep my powder dry for April. I made the best of the show from North Carolina. The day began under total overcast which cleared with the passage of a cold front exactly as the Clear Sky Chart said it would. I'd already packed up the kit to go to the community lot's open skies with that assurance in mind.

Click any Pic to See It Better



First clearing, a few minutes after first contact.
1/4000s, F6.3 Rokinon + 2x converter, ISO 100
Filtered only by clouds and framed by pine needles.



Near mid-eclipse, through broken clouds.
Same lens, similar settings.



Same lens, with Baader Solar Film
~1/640 @ ISO 800, using vernier focuser


Two panel Hydrogen-alpha panorama.
Best 250 of 500 frames times 2.
Same H-a rig as usual (TMB92, Quark, ASI178MM)
Make THIS ONE big, at least!
(Obnoxious copyright assertion because I sent it to APOD.)


Pretty much the same as previous photo except
not colorized and not panaraminated.



Geometry in the Wild



Inverted perspective: a confusing "prominence" photo.


contact 4

Fourth Contact approaches.



4th Contact, and the Moon Silhouetted in Space


The idea of that last frame is actually what got me out the door to shoot this event. In the middle of one recent night, I wondered if I could get the Moon silhouetted against the innermost corona in the clear fall air after the promised cold front. Something like this visualization:


The answer, it turned out, was no. A faint, well placed, diffuse prominence to the right of the Moon's last contact with the Sun saved the day for me. Make the last photo in the eclipse series big and look for the subtle silhouette.

The vernier focuser (a pulley/knob on a short axle and a timing belt looped around the focusing barrel of the 500mm mirror lens) worked great! I'd prefer it were geared down even more, but this got the job done today and will surely do so again in April. A bigger knob on the focusing axis might help. I am very pleased with the sharpness of the 500mm Rokinon F6.3 with the 2x Nikkor teleconverter (for the recod, best focus is aimed squarely at the middle of the infinity symbol, as it should be). Win-win, all around.

The H-a images rely on shorter clips than I would normally use. The Moon cruises on by after all, and to get its limb fairly sharp, I used 100- and 500-frame clips. For fourth contact, I set up a 3,000 frame clip and excerpted segments of it -- this 150 frame extract worked better than any others. The panorama required a little cheating to line up the Moon's limb over the combined 2 minute acquisition period. I'll confess if challenged, otherwise let's just let that go. The "inverted perspective" of a prominence rising from the dark shape of the Moon with the Sun's bright face for background was striking in the camera, but the shot was harassed by frequent interruptions by clouds. It's not as sharp as I'd wish, but it's the best I could manage out of several attempts.

Then the Vols beat the Aggies in a brutal, ugly game -- but a win is a win. And then it was off to Happy Filling Station to catch Kay and Patrick's late sets.

Not bad on five hours of sleep.

That's probably it for eclipses on this part of the Slowblog until next April. In the meantime, there's always this (thank you, K&P):






10/16/2023. Mirrors for composing at low angles, screwdrivers for anything macro (not micro), and a 20,000mah powerbank are in hand. You'd think I had something in mind.


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                   © 2023, David Cortner