A Night in the Meadow

This little meadow is is only a couple acres. Along one side is a spring where crisp water seeps from the ground and marks the beginning of a creek. Along the top the last few hundred feet of the paved road ends at a junction of rougher roads that lead further into the forest.

Grant's Spring Under Stars
The meadow at Grant’s Spring under northern stars
At the very center of the meadow a large snag stands alone, broken off twenty five feet above the ground, a tangle of limbs on all sides. This old snag is a dark sentinel in the night, almost unreal and a bit eerie in the gloom, it seems to move when you are not looking.

The clearing is surrounded by seventy foot high trees. Pine, fir, and larch are all represented in the dense forest that covers much of the ridgeline. This limits the view, blocking objects low on any horizon. The tall trees also provide a stage above which the stars rise and set, sometimes blinking brightly as they pass behind branches.

There are simply no lights, no substantial civilization for fifty miles in any direction. There are no distant domes of light visible on the horizon to remind one of Edison’s terrible invention. There is just the darkness and the stars above.

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´╗┐Witnessing a Total Solar Eclipse

By the time this is posted, by the time you read this, the eclipse will be long over. You will have been flooded by images and descriptions of this event from thousands of sources. However, this blog is a personal diary, I will put down my thoughts and memories before they grow dim, post my photos, and preserve the experience for myself.

Solar Corona
An HDR view of the solar corona from the 21Aug2017 solar eclipse

Our plan was simple, camp out well ahead of time in a site that had been carefully selected and scouted. Jody and Larry camped along side this little pretty meadow earlier in the summer, noting that it would serve quite well. They also arrived first, five days before the eclipse, and minutes ahead of others that sought this same place.

The plan worked, and worked well. In the days leading up to the eclipse dozens of vehicles came past, each looking with envy at those who had arrived early to claim the best spots. The stream of vehicles continued late into Sunday eve, no matter, this forest offers room for all.

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Processing the Eclipse

Processing the frames to produce a deeper view of the solar corona is not easy. This is the best I have achieved so far. You can still see some ring like artifacts where the layers have been merged. I will be working further to improve this, but it may come down to retouching by hand to eliminate the issues.

The image is an HDR merge of five images taken from 1/500 to 1/4sec exposures with the TV-76 and a Canon EOS M5. Extensive corona and a couple prominences can be seen.

Solar Corona
An HDR view of the solar corona from the 21Aug2017 solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse Blog

Yes, DarkerView has been a solar eclipse blog over the last couple weeks. No worries, it will soon be over and regular programming will resume… After the obligatory photos from the eclipse expedition!

Sun on Aug 10, 2017
The Sun as it appeared August 10, 2017 with sunspot AR2670
A few articles? Yes, just a few…

Total Solar Eclipse 2017
Eclipse Observing Checklist
The Eclipse Plan
Safe Eclipse Viewing
Two Solar Film Filters
Countdown to the Eclipse
The Sun on Eclipse Day
The Solar Corona on Eclipse Day
Correcting a Baader Solar Film Solar Image
The Eclipse Petroglyph
Hodgepodge

Miss any?

A Crescent Moon Rises

Ahead of our aircraft a crescent Moon is rising. Outside the window it is completely dark, a blackness broken only by the strobing anticollision lights across the wing and the rising Moon.  Seattle is still hours away as we cross the Pacific, there are no city lights below to break the darkness.

Boarding Alaska flight 850 in Kona
Boarding Alaska flight 850 in Kona
The waning crescent phase is another reminder that the total solar eclipse I have been anticipating is very near, only a few days now. Not that I really need a reminder, the entire reason I am on this flight is to meet the Moon once more, to catch the moment when it blots out the Sun.

Somewhere below me in the cargo hold is the telescope mount, assembled from restored and hand made parts.  In the luggage bin overhead is the telescope, the little refractor that is a prized posession. Through it I have watched and photographed eagles and whales, volcanic eruptions, and distant galaxies.  At my feet is a pack with a few cameras in it, only five.

For over a decade I have awaited the coming of this event.  A day that once seemed so remote draws swiftly near as a rising crescent Moon portends.