Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Hairshirt Goes Social

The Eclipse of 2012 was probably the deepest I'll see in my lifetime - without travel that is.  Part of me was wishing I'd made the 3-4 hour drive to see the full eclipse but it was still pretty impressive from my backyard in the San Jose area.  We had some some friends and neighbors over for a BBQ and in the end it was a wonderful way to enjoy the eclipse.

I set up with my 80mm AT-LE refractor and 12mm Nagler with a Baader filter on the front. An hour before the event I realized that with so many guests it would be best to rig up a projection.  I quickly taped a piece of white paper to the bottom of a cardboard box and then fastened the box to the ball head on my tripod.   Off came the Baader filter, and after some focusing and moving the box to and fro a very nice image presented itself.  The full solar disk about 8" in diameter.  Multiple sunspot complexes were easily visible with the lighter grey penumbra easily visible on the largest of them.  So many sunspots made the eclipse just that much more interesting.

Eclipse equipment with "spokes model"
I had the Canon T2i clicking away a picture every minute through the 200mm lens.  This was a very good dry run for the Venus transit since I learned that I'll definitely need to borrow a friends (you know who you are pal) 100-400mm.  The disk image is just too small at 200mm.

Even so, I'll attempt to assemble a time lapse of the eclipse event - if for no other reason than to practice up for the Transit on June 5.

As written in a post below, the practice of imaging is largely a solitary pursuit.  With other imagers nearby it can be a shared experience but in the end it is just you, the camera, the mount, the computer, and a horrible tangle of wires and cables.

Sharing the eclipse, live, with nearly 20 onlookers was great fun.  The youngest was 18 months, the most senior over 90.  It was satisfying to share something so unique with a group of friends.  Yes, the hairshirt monk does go social every once in a while.

But there was another aspect.  A more intiment moment of sharing.  One that I wouldn't trade for pinpont stars across the field.  Or for the lastest gear.  Or a set of perfect Flats, darkest skies, deepest image.  It is the moment of connection with another over this instance of wonder.

Today's connection: mid-eclipse

 It's when another looks at an image, or through a telescope, or even with naked eyes at a dark sky and gets it.  It's when another sees what I see and there is the ah-ha moment.  Doesn't happen frequently but when it does it makes all the hard work of imaging worthwhile.  I was thrilled that it happened today.

1 comment:

  1. Carl, you were the man with the plan, and a great host for this group of friends and family. The photo with your precious daughter at eclipse maximum is worth a zillion dollars. Moment of connection