Annual Eclipse of November 3rd, 2013

The Last Eclipse of 2013

HSE2013_Americas

Sunday Morning an Annular / Hybrid Solar Eclipse will be visible at sunrise along the east coast of the United States. What is an annular eclipse? An Annular Solar Eclipse is when the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, but the Lunar Disc isn’t large enough to cover the entire surface of the Sun. As shown below. We will not see the entire eclipse as it favors the Atlantic Ocean and western Africa. There will be some neat photo ops with a “bite” taken out of the Sun. A few sunspots will also be peppering the Sun’s Surface.

The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99% of the Sun’s surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining photospheric crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection [Chou, 1981; Marsh, 1982]. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!

Eclipse Progression

This eclipse is of the rare hybrid variety— that is, it will be an annular eclipse along the very first 15 seconds of its track before transitioning to a total as the Moon’s shadow sweeps just close enough to the Earth to cover the disk of the Sun along the remainder of its track. For the people along the East coast of the United States we should be able to view it at sunrise low in the eastern sky.

How rare are hybrid solar eclipse? Of the 11,898 solar eclipses listed over a 5,000 year span from 1999 BC to 3000 AD in Fred Espenak’s Five Millennium Catalog of Solar Eclipses, only 569, or 4.8% are hybrids. – Universe Today.

HOW TO SAFELY VIEW AND PHOTOGRAPH THE ECLIPSE

Horseshoe Bend Eclipse

The first thing you need is q pair of solar glasses. Never look directly at the sun or through your camera without protective eyewear or filters, if you do not obey this rule, you can go blind. Your eye feels no pain when it gets damaged by the Sun’s powerful rays as you may not feel the effects until hours after the event. Here is what you need to safely view / photograph the eclipse. (make sure there are no holes, tears or rips in any of your filters)

1. Solar Sunglasses – for viewing with your eyes

2. Welders glass – will also be ok to view an eclipse through

3. Solar Filter – To photograph the Eclipse  (Stacking polarizers and ND filters won’t cut it!)

4. Find an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon at sunrise

5. GET UP EARLY! – Find your viewing area and get there before sunrise

6. Can’t do any of this without clear skies!

Horsehoe Bend 2012

In May 2012, I photographed the Annular Eclipse “Ring of Fire” Over The Iconic Horseshoe Bend in Northern Arizona. Hundreds of people showed up with everything from small point and shoot cameras to some super large telescopes. One person almost fell off the 1,000ft cliff while trying to get find a “good spot” to snap a picture from using a point and shoot. Be careful no matter where you are! My tripods are in the bottom right closest to the edge you two other awesome guys who came out for the workshop tour!

Maxumim Eclipse Phase

Maxumim Eclipse Phase

Bailey's Beads

Bailey’s Beads

WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE FOR US SUNDAY MORNING???

Here is a diagram showing the possible view across the East Coast of the US

HSE2013_Americas

We are on the back side of the Eclipse so we will not see the entire eclipse.. For us in the United States, We will have to wait for 2017 when a Total Eclipse will race all the way across the Country, but Sunday morning will be a very rare event indeed.

HSE2013_Overview_magnitude

If you live in Africa, you will get the best viewing, unless you are in a boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Hope this helps and remember to set your clocks back Saturday night and be super careful when looking at the Sun!

Generally, the same equipment, techniques and precautions used to observe the Sun outside of eclipse are required for annular eclipses and the partial phases of total eclipses [Reynolds & Sweetsir, 1995; Pasachoff & Covington, 1993; Pasachoff & Menzel, 1992; Sherrod, 1981]. The safest and most inexpensive of these methods is by projection, in which a pinhole or small opening is used to cast the image of the Sun on a screen placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening. Projected images of the Sun may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. Binoculars can also be used to project a magnified image of the Sun on a white card, but you must avoid the temptation of using these instruments for direct viewing.

The Sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters usually have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces that attenuates ultraviolet, visible, and infrared energy. One of the most widely available filters for safe solar viewing is a number 14 welder’s glass, available through welding supply outlets. More recently, aluminized mylar has become a popular, inexpensive alternative. Mylar can easily be cut with scissors and adapted to any kind of box or viewing device. A number of sources for solar filters are listed below. No filter is safe to use with any optical device (i.e. – telescope, binoculars, etc.) unless it has been specifically designed for that purpose. Experienced amateur and professional astronomers may also use one or two layers of completely exposed and fully developed black-and-white film, provided the film contains a silver emulsion. Since all developed color films lack silver, they are always unsafe for use in solar viewing.

Unsafe filters include color film, some non-silver black and white film, medical x-ray films with images on them, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters. Solar filters designed to thread into eyepieces which are often sold with inexpensive telescopes are also dangerous. They should not be used for viewing the Sun at any time since they often crack from overheating. Do not experiment with other filters unless you are certain that they are safe. Damage to the eyes comes predominantly from invisible infrared wavelengths. The fact that the Sun appears dark in a filter or that you feel no discomfort does not guarantee that your eyes are safe. Avoid all unnecessary risks. Your local planetarium or amateur astronomy club is a good source for additional information.

In spite of these precautions, the total phase of an eclipse can and should be viewed without any filters whatsoever. The naked eye view of totality is completely safe and is overwhelmingly awe-inspiring!  – NASA

Enjoy!

NEW RELEASE! SEASIDE HEIGHTS ROLLERCOASTER – ” ETERNAL NIGHT “

Being the extreme storm chaser and landscape astro-photographer that I am, I couldn’t resist the rare opportunity to photograph such a tragic loss with our night sky. This Hurricane was different because instead of me going after it, Hurricane Sandy decided to come to me. I received a direct impact from Hurricane Sandy with heavy rains and very strong winds.  Most people associate Hurricane’s with the lower gulf states and the barrier islands of North Carolina, it was only a matter of time that a large system to would wreak havoc on the mid-atlantic and northeastern US. I spent several nights on the sand at the Seaside Heights Rollercoaster since Late October 2012, and have captured many dramatic images of the destruction for the last several months. It’s given me plenty of time to really take it what exactly happen here and how long the road for recovery is really going to be. So many people have lost so much, but in the end, we still stand tall,  just like the Jet-Star Rollercoaster.

The Jet-Star Roller coaster in Seaside Heights, NJ gainst a startrailed background and a meteor!

The Jet-Star Roller coaster in Seaside Heights, NJ against a star filled background and a meteor!

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Close Encounter in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone's Black Wolf

 

During my first visit in Yellowstone it wasn’t hard to find wildlife… at least not for me.  I saw everything from Eagles to grizzly bears. This particular morning near Lamar Valley, I pulled over at a lookout spot where dozens of people  with spotting scopes trying to find the majestic Yellowstone wolves. The group had gazed over Lamar Valley the past 3 mornings with no lucky of spotting a wolf. I decided to hike back down the road 1/4 mile to where I saw an Eagle sitting in a nest. I had to venture off into the field so I could get closer for a decent shot when I felt a force over my shoulder. I turned around and saw a black wolf jogging over the hill to my right. I instantly stopped dead in my tracks and focused all of my attention on this wolf running right at me. I quickly realized I am 1/4 mile away from my car with a full-grown wolf, 300 feet away.  The only thing I could think of was to keep taking pictures, and so I did just that. At about 190ft, the wolf stopped and stared at me for several seconds sniffing the air. He posed for another 20 seconds, turned around and left.  It was a wonderful experience out in the wild with a black wolf, and live to tell about it. I had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, it was one wildlife encounter I will think about forever.

The Quadrantids are back! This year I won’t be freezing in Florida, instead, I will be at freezing at home shooting this one. Don’t let the full moon keep you inside this year, it can still be a great show, just give yourself at least 30mins to 45mins outside. It will be worth it under clear skies!

Jeff Berkes Blog

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower of 2012 was incredible! For the second year in a row, I was able to catch this shower under dark skies. This year I was fortunate enough to get flight to the Florida Keys to photograph the first meteor shower of 2012. (Thanks buddy, you know who you are). We flew into Key West on Tuesday morning and scouted out possible locations  to shoot the shower from over a 55 mile stretch of highway. We came up with some solid locations to shoot from and we had plenty of  time to bounce to different spots before the shower really picked up in intensity.

I took this shot in the early morning hours of January 4th, 2012.

You can even see  the “Zodiac Lights” appearing as an illuminated looking triangular shape in the very early hours before sunrise (local time). You would think it was warm there… well,  it was almost freezing out.

The…

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2012 Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend!!!

Perseid Meteor falling over the Pacific Ocean south of Hilo

The Perseids are here! As seen on National Geograhpic’s website. Every year we enter a swath of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle sparking these “falling stars”.  Last year was a  bust with a full moon washing out all but the brightest ones.  As pictured below..

Perseid Meteor and Full Moon 2011

Perseid Meteor and Full Moon 2011

 Unlike last year, this year should be much better. The moon rises in the early morning as a crescent which is better than the bright full moon.  The best place watch is away from city lights where the light pollution takes over our night sky. Where ever you live just take a 30 minute drive out-of-town. This year we have a bonus!  Venus and Jupiter will align with the slender crescent moon in the eastern sky before sunrise in a dazzling morning sky show with a flurry of Perseid Meteors!  The best time to look is between 1am and 4am (NE) when the radiant is the highest in the sky. featured below…

Perseid Sky Map

 I have had the honor of photographing this meteor shower multiple times from many places. Last year I photographed it from Utah, Arizona and Pennsylvania and I’m planning on extending that streak to a couple additional states this weekend. Here are a few shots from past meteor showers.Perseid Meteor over the Utah Desert 2011.

Utah Desert 2011.Delta Aquarid - Glacier 2008

Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower 2008

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2012

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2012

Quadrantid Meteor Shower – Florida Keys

Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower 2010

Perseids – Big Island of Hawaii

Leonids 2011

Leonids 2011

Leonid Meteor Shower – New Jersey 2011

Volcano and Perseid Meteor 2010

Volcano and Perseid Meteor 2010

The Kilauea Volcano Caldera, the Milkyway and a Perseid Meteor , Hawaii

Lyrids 2012

Lyrids 2012

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2012 – Virginia

Quadrantids in the Florida Keys 2012!

Quadrantids in the Florida Keys 2012!

 

 On a single night of the year you can see a falling star, but there are nights where the chances increase by a ton!  The Perseids start in late July and last until  about the 18th of August, the greatest activity of the shower will occur this weekend so be sure to go outside tonight and make a few wis

You can see these meteors in any direction in the sky. Make sure you bring a camping chair or blanket and look straight up without focusing on any single area in the sky. If you choose to photograph the shower make sure you use a lens which can cover a good portion of the sky and bring lots of snacks! Try not to look at cell phones or use flashlights that aren’t “red lights” this damages your night vision. When you first arrive at your sight make sure you allow 10-15minutes for your eyes to adjust to the night sky. Do not look at or into any light sources, it will tak you another 15 minutes for your eyes to adjust into (night mode).

Check back for a follow up to the shower and happy meteor hunting!

Big Storms Make Big Impressions – July 2012 Pennsylvania GMA

We were placed in a moderate risk area for severe weather on Thursday July 27th, 2012. Everything was in place to get dangerous yet magnificent storms. I haven’t had a lot of time to chase lately, basically none. Which is very rare, I have missed 7 chases in a row, but not this day! As storms fired up over lake Erie in NW  Pennsylvania , I collected all of my gear for the day and played a waiting game. I really wanted to photographed the storms in the evening around sunset so I picked southeastern, PA where is it flat and wide open in most areas. I get tired of chasing in the sticks, it’s too dangerous with falling trees and branches. Even though that doesn’t stop me, I choose to bypass that idea and go for the fields.

Setting up for the Shot

It is one thing to “chase”, but it’s another to capture your subjects in the most dramatic way. Composition, lighting, depth of field and exposure are all very important in creating stunning photos. If you don’t get it right the first time, you don’t have a second chance. I spent about one hour looking for a good spot to set up. I found many photogenic locations but parking was an issue, with cars and Amish Buggies all around, it became a challenge in itself. I finally found my spot as the storms approached from the Northwest.

It’s coming!

I had a few cameras rolling the entire time. Two running HD video and my “Beast” the Nikon D3, taking the stills.

Corn Storm

Corn Storm

The clouds were so dramatic this particular evening in SE PA. The right time of day, cloud thickness and the intensity of the storm all contributed to its beauty. Winds started to pick up and gusted to near 60mph. Some trees were completely snapped at the base, and I am talking 50 foot trees with a diameter of 2 feet! Dirt began to rise up from beneath to corn  as lightning began to dance about the horizon 3miles to my northwest. I knew there was a reason why I had to pass up chases earlier this year. It was because this storm had more to offer than most storms.

Sudden Death

Sudden Death

 I always feel like it’s me (Jeff Berkes) vs. Mother Nature when confronting  a storm, summer or winter.  I love to get right in front of them and feel the power it has to offer.  For me it is  just about experiencing an event. The photos come 2nd as a way to share my experience with others, but in reality, if I do not get good shots, I do get frustrated! I spent about 10 hours that day chasing and photographing instense lighting until the wee hours of the morning. I took over 1000 photos and shot around 5 hours worth of video. IHope to get to it soon so check back for more storms chasing photos from 2012.

Looking East

Looking East

This was looking east towards Philadlephia as the Shelf Cloud came overhead.

Barreling Through

Barreling Through

This photo is from looking down the other end of the road. Shelf Cloud / Wall Cloud passed overhead, I looked behind me and saw yet again some of the most dramatic and beautiful cloud formations. There was weak rotation, but lots of movement in the clouds, it was simply stunning. Another Severe Thunderstorm Watch has just been issued for our area until 10pm tonight. These storms will not form the incccredible line like we had on Thursday, but we could see some very intense winds and lightning. Have a safe weekend! More photo and videos to come!

Sunday on Good Morning America they are going to feature some photos I took from this Chase, be sure to check it out!

Double Eclipse! (a preview)

WOW!!  I haven’t made a post  since April.  I am long overdue, but it has been for good reason.  I have had 15 workshops since April, one of them being to Arizona where we photographed many iconic locations including the Great “Ring of Fire” Annular Solar Eclipse over Horseshoe Bend in northern Arizona. I have also photographed the partial eclipse of the “strawberry” moon in early June, follow by the “transit of Venus” crossing the surface of the Sun, the following night. Three eclipses in just as many weeks, So lucky to have been apart of them all. The eclipse BlogEntry is coming next week! This is just a  little teaser of what is to come! Enjoy! We all arrived at 12 noon (5 1/2 hours before the eclipse began, just to “claim” our spot) and I’m glad we did.

Annular Eclipse May 20th, 2012 – Northern Arizona

Annular Eclipse – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, May 20th, 2012

(above)The eclipse started at 5:32pm and ended beyond sunset around 7:24pm. This image was taken in the final minutes before the sun set in it’s partial eclipse phase.  

(above) This photo was created during the Maximum Eclipse Phase around 6:34pm on Sunday May 20th, 2012.

   Be sure to check back next week for the full post! Cheers! Jeff