[AZ-Observing] One more Eclipse Story

  • From: "Rick Tejera" <saguaroastro@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 May 2012 16:29:05 -0700

Count me among the masses who ventured up to the page area to take in the
eclipse. I was in Payson Friday & Saturday with a ham radio group and while
they all headed back south on Sunday morning, I headed up north. My planned
vantage point was Horseshoe Bend (Inspired by Don Hincliffe sp., who
originally posted he was thinking about it.) I planned on arriving around
1400 guessing (correctly) that the little parking lot at the trailhead would
not be full that early. Arriving at 1400 as planned I was able to park along
the entrance road to the parking lot and found there was actually room in
the lot itself. No Big Deal. Anyway I brought Polly, my ETX 60 and my Camera
and anticipation. I met two nice fellow John From Arkansas And bob From
Chicago who came out for the event as well and we decided to set up by each
other.  The Short ¾ mile hike led us to the spectacular scenery that in
Horseshoe Bend, 1000 feet above the Colorado River. There were quite a few
folks there and surprisingly  many of them were unaware of the upcoming
show. We set up about 10 feet from the edge of the canyon on a nice flat
rock, which gave us a good view in the direction of the eclipse. I set up
Polly with a Baader solar filter. I luckily had remembered I still had a
piece of the file left over from an eclipse past and it was in good
condition. I didn?t have time to make a proper cell for it though, so I just
held it on the business end of Polly with one of my daughters hair
Scrunchies, whatever works!. Bob had brought several pieces of #14 welders
glass as well. While we waited for the eclipse I offered views of the sun to
anyone interested and took plenty of photos of the canyon scenery and
Socialized with the crowd. It was then I surmised I was one of only two
Arizonans here (at least from the folks I talked to. Plenty of  folks form
out of state and even more from out of Country.  I spoke with folks from
Germany, Japan, France, Belgium, The UK, The Netherlands, among others.
About 1500, we here this crash bang followed by some choice language and we
this guy hauling two pelican cases and a few smaller ones on a hand truck,
trying to rag it though the sandy trail. The cases kept falling off. He flew
in from Denton TX, and then set up a Losmandy G something ( I forget
exactly, but referred to it to my non astro friends as a ?Big-ass, heavy
mount). After all was said & done, he had stuck a 60mm Ha Solar scope on
this mount. A classic case of overkill, I thought he was gonna have top put
the counterweight on the telescope side of the dec shaft!

Anyway as the time drew near, Folks manned their cameras, Scopes & Eclipse
glasses. Like jack, I was the first to call first contact (though in all
honesty, I don?t think many around me knew what that meant). The view
through the scope was quite nice and it was fun watching the moon occult the
sunspot groups. I alternated looking through the scope and the eclipse
glasses.  A few minutes after first contact, I felt a tap on my shoulder and
a French accent asking ? Pardon, Eez dere Someseeng appeneeng to ze Sun???
The fellow was there with his wife from Lyon, France . they were just
touring the Southwest and happened by on their way to the Grand Canyon from
the Arches in Utah. They had no idea about the eclipse. Matheau & Elise
stayed and we shared our glasses & scopes with them and had a great time
talking with them. 


Finally the time came. As annularity neared the din of conversation ebbed
except for me calling time to Second contact , which came within about 15
seconds of the predicted time. This was the first time I saw Bailey?s Beads
and they were beautiful! Again, I was first to call Second Contact. About 30
seconds into annularity I looked up and saw the dark purplish band of the
moon?s shadow, quite a sight. I screamed out to everyone to look up and
explained what they saw. I actually got quite a few oooh?s & aaah?s at that.
A look backwards showed the lengthening shadows and the mini eclipses in the
patches of light between the shadows. Really cool. The second round of
Bailey?s Beads were better than the first  and after third contact the crowd
broke into applause. At that time, most casual observers began to leave, but
we stuck around for Sunset. Right after Third Contact, a Belgian family that
I had shared my Glasses with, Popped open a bottle of Champaign and offer me
a glass. We drank ?Pour le Soleil et la Lune?!. The sunset through the
telescope as the distant mountains silhouetted against the sun was
spectacular. I took about 33 shots of the sunset, hoping to catch the Green
Flash, and thought I did. It looked like a small green band on one the final
images on the camera?s screen, but alas, once I got them downloaded to the
computer, I realized I didn?t catch the GF, Too bad, would have been a great
coda to a great experience. 


During the eclipse I took a few shots with the DSLR through the eyepiece,
which came out well, but not great. I also took some shots during ingress
using Bob?s welders glass. They came out pretty good as well. Turns out as
the eclipse deepened, the camera had trouble focusing. John had taken a few
shots using the welders glass only enough to cover the Sun, the camera was
able to focus on the canyon with just a green corner with the Sun nicely
eclipsed. Wish I?d thought of that?.


After Sunset we hiked back to our cars and said our goodbyes and exchanged
emails address so we could share our pictures. I was back on the road at
2000 and stopped in Flagstaff for the night (which made Sue sleep easier!).
After a nice Shower & night?s sleep, finally made the last leg home Monday
morning. 587 miles on the car for 4 ½ minutes and worth every mile. 


Whose up for 2017?????


My gallery is up on my facebook page:
087777&type=1> &type=1

Clear Skies to all!

Rick Tejera (K7TEJ)

Sagauro Astronomy Club


Thunderbird Amatuer Radio Club



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