Solar Dragon

by wjw on August 23, 2017

coronaSo we had a three-day turnaround between returning from Helsinki and starting our drive to Wyoming to see the eclipse.  It was a two-day drive to our guest ranch near Dubois (rhymes with Royce).  A two-day drive to watch a two-minute event seemed a little out of balance, so we’re staying for the rest of the week in order to enjoy nearby Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

It is somewhat of a contrast with Finland.

We watched the eclipse from the front porch of our rented cabin, which makes it about the most effort-free of the five solar eclipses we’ve attended.  The sky was unclouded.  We had our veteran Astroscan telescope, which proved about perfect, and I had my new Canon camera with a solar filter I’d built myself out of mylar, cardboard, and duct tape.

When the eclipse began, the corona seemed unusually thick and bright, as if the sun were wrapped in a thick ermine blanket.  There was a kind of handle on the top, and bright solar prominences were visible boiling up above the rim of the moon.

I wished I’d had my old Pentax, so that I could manually shift from one f-stop to the next in order to get different exposures, but the manual shift on that camera is broken for the second time, and I’m tired of trying to fix it.

The new Canon has automatic everything, and I was afraid that it wouldn’t be able to adjust to a dim, distant corona in blackness, and I was right.  I took a lot of photos and threw out maybe 80%.  This is the best of the eclipse itself, and shows solar prominences and some of the structure of the corona.

Due to technical issues I was unable to upload anything till today.  I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of eclipse photos by now and are sick of them, but here’s another one anyway.

I’d really like a sauna now, but it turns out I’m not in Finland, and I can’t have one.  Alas.

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