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.

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

2012 Lyrid Meteor Shower: A Look Back

Meadow In The Sky

I found myself at 3,500ft in elevation with crystal clear skies on Friday April 20th, 2012. Being “Park Week”, I had no choice but to visit a long time friend of mine; Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. With the forecast looking poor during the peak activity, I arrived a couple of days early to  maximize my chances at a clear night. The first night was clear, but the dew point was causing issues with creating tons of condensation, which formed on everything. Things got a little hairy at point when a black bear approached us at 11pm in the pitch dark. I didn’t realize he was there until I heard a stick break and then noticed the bear 50 feet away. He growled and made noises, but kept on moving towards the east with no issues at all.

Sunset was even a pleasant palette of pastel colors in the western skies facing West Virginia

Valley View

Shenandoah Celebrated it’s 75 year anniversary last year as I celebrated my 12th year there at the highest Point in the Park, Hawksbill Mountain

Self Portrait - Hawksbill Mountain

Rain water created tiny pools of water along the highest cliffs in the park

Cliff Water

The second night there wasn’t a problem with condensation forming on my gear because we had gusty winds near 40mph or higher along the ridge preventing that from happening. The sturdy tripod made all the difference this night taking the stronger winds. Keeping the tripod low to the ground increases the stability. A steady rain, followed by 6″ of snow blocked any chance of observations for the “peak night”.  But the night before offered some gorgeous views of the heavens.

2012 Lyrid Meteor

 

The TOP photo is featured on MSN Photo Blog.. Check it out here.  http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/27/11434037-looking-back-at-the-lyrids

2012 is a great year for meteor showers unlike 2011. The next “major shower” is May 4/5, but the full moon block out all but the brightest meteors.

 

 

2012 Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend!

A Lyrid meteor over the Presidential Range, NH

A Lyrid meteor over the Presidential Range, NH

The Lyrids are almost here! It’s been a long 3 months since there has been a meteor shower to write home about. This weekend the condition will be perfect! As long as you have clear skies, viewing these meteors won’t be hard at all. The shower will peak Saturday night April 21st into the morning hours of April 22nd. If you can pull an “all night ‘r”  I suggest you do it that night.. If the forecast isn’t looking good for your area,  try to view the shower the night before, there will still be meteors as the shower starts on the 16th and ending on the 24th of april.

Sky Chart

Sky Chart

I have seen and heard reports of some fireballs in the evening as the radiant breeches the horizon. Look for the bright fireballs between 8pm and 10pm.

Perseid Fireball over Kauai

Expect 15-20 meteors per hour. In years past, there have been records of the shower going crazy peaking  over 100 meteors per hour. We don’t know what it will be like this year until it’s over.  This year, I will be perched up into the mountains high above light pollution. I’m hoping for clear skies!

 Virginia Skies

Let me know if you see any!

Spring – The Changing Wind

The Divide

The Divide

Flowering plants and trees were already past peek before April even begun, which is very unusual, but when is weather ever usual?  The arrival of warmer temperatures in the month of March has set spring into action a few weeks early. I saw birds building their nests in February when we should have been shoveling 20″ of snow, but I am looking forward to the warmer weather and the vibrant colors of nature during the summer months. How about you?

Happy Easter Weekend!