Solar Eclipse 2017

by: Mike Read

View the Solar Eclipse 2017 Slideshow !

On Saturday, August 19, 2017, Amy and I drove up to Denver, Colorado.
We met up with my long-time friend Kevin Stoelb and his wife Corey Hopper.
We got there at night, and spent the time getting things ready.

The next morning, we all drove up to Cheyenne, Wyoming in our trucks.
We headed to check out a spot we reserved outside the path of totality.
We stopped by Last Chance Camp, then proceeded on towards the centerline.

After stopping several times, we spotted a good location off the highway.
It turned out to be a family ranch that had filled to capacity,
but then opened up an additional field for people to camp at.
We had found a location at last!

It is located near Orin, Wyoming (between Glendo and Douglas), East of Casper.

After checking in and finding a spot, we set up camp and scopes.
I spent the night polar aligning my telescope, in between clouds and some rain.
I used the declination-drift method to get a near-perfect alignment.
This would ensure the Sun would not drift up or down throughout the eclipse.

Amy's Dad rolled in late at night.
I went to bed around 4 in the morning.
My parents found their way here in the early morning.

I began setting up around 7:00 am on Monday morning, the day of the eclipse.
I finished setting up my telescopes and cameras around 10:00 am.

My main setup was a Celestron 8-inch (C8) telescope with a Canon 80D DSLR camera.
I used a f/6.3 focal reducer to fit the Sun in the field of the crop-sized sensor.
I had my Canon T3i DSLR with a 600mm lens on a tripod for a wider shot.
I also had several other cameras recording pictures or video during parts of the eclipse.

Things went well, mostly, but I forgot to do a few things.
During totality, I did not change my camera setting dial from 'C1' to 'C2'.
This resulted in the same (mostly over-exposed) images as the partial phase.
Focus was not very good, much worse than my practice runs.
Some of the problem was vibrations from the wind and camera shutter.

Nonetheless, I was quite surprised how well they turned out!

After the eclipse was over, we wandered around the site and eventually left.
Traffic on I-25 back to Denver was very slow, so we took a back route out.

After breakfast the next morning, we visited family, then headed back to Tucson!

We all had a great time and it was an amazing experience!

Enjoy the pictures below!

- Mike & Amy

Map of Wyoming and the eclipse path (we were at the marker)

Map close-up with eclipse times

Traffic on I-25 on the drive to Wyoming

Welcome to Wyoming

Last Chance Camp where we stopped briefly

Setup in the field the night before

Corey, Kevin, Amy, Mike (and Ginger in front)

Other people in the field

Setting up before the eclipse

Amy's picture of the Sun with eclipse by internal reflection

Partially eclipsed Sun through telescope eyepiece

Telescopes and cameras setup

Amy and me looking up at the Sun

Pointing at the Sun

Pointing at the Sun in awe

Kevin pointing at our location on a map

Traffic on I-25 after the eclipse

Sunset that evening on the drive back

Through 600 mm lens:

11:40 - Crescent Sun

11:43 - Crescent Sun close-up

11:44:50 - Beginning of Totality

11:45:00 - Mid-Eclipse

11:47:10 - End of Totality

11:45 - Cat's eye (camera moved during exposure)

Through 8-inch telescope:

10:21 - Sun before the eclipse

10:25 - Sun 1 minute after start of eclipse

10:32 - Eclipse in progress

11:06 - Moon halfway across the Sun

11:43 - Crescent Sun just before totality

11:44:40 - Diamond Ring (and internal reflections)

11:44:45 - Beginning of Totality

11:45:00 - Mid-Eclipse

11:45:45 - Mid-Eclipse Flares

11:46:55 - End of Totality

11:47:10 - Diamond Ring

11:48 - Crescent Sun just after totality

11:48 - The Sun about 99% eclipsed

11:54 - The Sun about 90% eclipsed

12:35 - The Sun about 40% eclipsed

01:10 - Sun 1 minute before end of eclipse

Enhanced Pictures:

Partial Eclipse, enhanced (by Amy Read)

Total Eclipse, composite (by Amy Read)

View the Solar Eclipse 2017 Slideshow !