I am planning on seeing the Annular in 2023 (duration 5:17), though not just
sure from where, as yet. I'm also planning on being somewhere in Texas for the
April 2024 eclipse (Duration 4:28).
Exactly where will depend on the long range weather forecasts, as we get closer
to the time.
For the 2017 eclipse we didn't book a motel room until about 9 months prior to
the event and found ourselves a 3 hour drive from either of the seeing
positions we'd chosen. The final choice was made at 5am on that morning.
(Fortunately, by their nature, most eclipses are near mid-day, which gives you
time to get there.)
For "the Big One" in San Jose Del Cabo, in 1991,duration was a possible 6:53,
but that was only if you were in Santiago ... a very small town about a 40
minute drive north of San Jose del Cabo. So many people wanted to be on the
centerline that traffic jams prevented many from getting there. Those who did
found themselves clouded out. We opted to stay in SJdC, and viewed the eclipse
from the cool grass compound of a condo complex where my in-laws had rented a
suite. Even there, the clouds only cleared some 15 minutes before the start of
the eclipse. So, in the end, we traded about 9 seconds of "umbral time" for
good seeing. It was, I think, a worthwhile trade.
In 1979, we were near your home town of Yakima, in Ellensburg. My in-laws in
their car, me in mine. After racing through dirt roads between farmer's fields
for an hour, it was near the start time and we had to make a choice. He went
left, I went right. We saw the eclipse, they did not.
These same in-laws took their family to Kenya for an eclipse but had no
transportation and got clouded out. Those who went to Hawaii for the 1991
eclipse suffered the same fate. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to
The key point in these stories, is that if you are serious about seeing any
eclipse, you need mobility, so get to a spot between the clouds. So, being on
the edge, in Austin, is good. Just get up early and be prepared to drive to
the centerline, or as close as you can get... and have 2 or 3 spots chosen and
then make the choice early that morn after reviewing the weather reports. (If
you don't want to drive on the day, my advice is don't bother going.)
Oh... and go self-contained. Take extra gas in a jerry can, as fuel can be in
short supply when 30,000 extra folks descend on a spot for 3 or 4 hours. Same
goes for restaurant meals. I've seen restaurants close mid-day for lack of food.
And definitely plan well ahead. We viewed the 2017 eclipse from Orin
Junction, Wyoming, a small place (pop. 46) with a gas station and little else.
We estimated 8,000 cars were there! One enterprising farmer was offering
overnight parking in his field - with water but no other services - for
US$200/night! (In 2017, gouging was rampant.. the closer to the centerline,
the worse it was... $1200 per night for a motel room was not unheard of. By
staying 3 hours out, we got a $50 room for only $89. But, we had a room! We
saw dozens who'd decided at the last minute to go, " 'cause you can always get
a motel room", turned away.)
Lastly, don't worry about posh. I'm usually in the middle of a desert ('94), a
farmer's field ('79) or a highway's roadside ditch ('17). All you need is a
flat-ish spot, for a couple of chairs & your tripod, that has an unobstructed
view. Posh can come later. An hour after the eclipse, you'll wonder where
Hi David. Making any plans for the '24 eclipse? Should be a long one.------
I have read anywhere from 5-6 minutes. That would be amazing. My
sister-in-law has a relative through here son's marriage who lives
outside Dallas and at the last eclipse she mentioned that it might be
possible for me to go with her for a visit. If not, I have a brother in
Austin, but but Austin is right on the edge so it would not last that
long. It would be nice to not have to travel on the day or try to find
a place to camp. Being April, I am wondering what the odds are for good
weather down there. I need to look that up.
From: David Young
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2019 8:50 PM
Subject: [LRflex] Re: Blood Moon (corrected link)
Good Evening, Bill!
The Looney 11 rule works for a fully illuminated moon ... or at least
it's a good starting point. It works because the moon reflects a bit
less sunlight (about 1 stop) due to it's grey surface.
For my own shots, I simply trust the TTL metering, though you do have to
watch the shutter speeds, during the total phase, and adjust the ISO
accordingly. That's what I failed to do for the recent "blood moon" ...
and I know better, having photographed many lunar eclipses and 5 total
The 400 or 500 rule is actually the 340 rule ... Fred Espenak (NASA) is
the world's leading expert on such events and runs the MrEclipse.com
website. In it, he states:
"Exposure (seconds) = 340 / focal length (millimeters). For longer
exposures, you need a clock drive to compensate for the Earth's
It can be found, here:
and scroll down to the section on "Telescope Clock Drives and Polar
Alignment" & start reading.
Also note, that when the rule speaks of focal length, it refers to the
EFFECTIVE focal length on crop-sensor (APS-C & mFT) cameras.
By using the 400 or 500 (some even say 600) you get more blur due to the
rotation of the earth... so which number you use depends on just how
fussy you are. I go with Fred, at 340. He's the guru.
A good article that uses the 500 rule, but which explains things quite
well, can be found here:
For other sites, simply Google "eclipse 500 rule".
I hope this helps. If not, you know where to find me!
PS: Next total Solar eclipse visible in the USA is April 8, 2024.
though there will be an annular ellipse visible through much of Canada &
the US on Saturday, October 14, 2023,
For solar eclipses over Europe and other places, consult MrEclipse.com
I have had no luck with moon photos, trying to begin with the Sunny 16
rule because the moon is fully lighted by the sun.
I have never seen or heard of the 400 or 500 divided by ISO rule but I
did find a Looney 16 Rule, which has nothing to do with Canadian
"The basic rule is, "For astronomical photos of the Moon's surface,
set aperture to f/11 and shutter speed to the [reciprocal of the] ISO
film speed [or ISO setting]."
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