´╗┐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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New Moon

Young Moon
A very young moon over Waikoloa
New Moon will occur today at 08:30HST.

A total solar eclipse will sweep across the mainland United States today. For viewers here in the islands this eclipse will be visible as a minor partial eclipse with between 15-20% of the Sun’s disk covered by the Moon. The eclipse will occur right at sunrise.

Given the path and the probability of good weather this eclipse is likely to be heavily watched. Expect thousands of photos available on social media shortly!

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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.