Annual Eclipse of November 3rd, 2013

The Last Eclipse of 2013


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.


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


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


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.


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



Where is the Snow?

Snowmageddon 2009

Snowmageddon 2009

It’s now January 17th, 2012. My car is clean, the roads aren’t stained with salt, the grass is green and I wore a t-shirt outside last week.  Is it really mid-January? The last time we had a  measurable snow was in October 2011 when we received 7″ of heavy wet snow during peak foliage conditions (the 100 year storm) so rare I was so excited for this event. I wonder if I had jinxed myself somehow that day though. I remember saying to myself  “I’m so happy I had the chance to photograph  snow during peak foliage conditions, I don’t care if we do not get anymore snow this year, I’m happy with this rare snowfall.”  (as seen below)

Combining Seasons

Combining Seasons

Well so far, besides two other dustings of snow, we haven’t seen anything. Philadelphia  has no snow this year, Boston has only have a couple inches.. What is going on? The last 2 years we have broken snowfall records time and time again.. Now it seems as the snow has run out. Some factor that play into the lack of snow are this. The jet stream is in a position which allows warmer air to flow up in front of the storm systems that ride along it and all storm are moving to our north and west, we need them to our south and east. Need a Greenland high pressure to help out.

  This Season Average season-to-date Last season-to-date
Boston 2.7″ 17.2″ 40.4″
Hartford 14.6″ 15.7″ 45.4″
New York 2.9″ 8.6″ 30.9″
Philadelphia 0.5″ 6.6″ 21.1″

As you can see snowfall is way below average for this time of year. In  previous years I had already found myself in handfull of snowstorms, this year, I struggle to find it anywhere.

December 2010

December 2010

Tree of Winter

Tree of Winter

 February Nor’Easter 2010 – Snowmageddon

Snow Camping  January 2010

 Snow Camping January 2010. Each winter I watch the forecasts like a Hawk wishing for a monster storm to ride up the coast. If / when it does I will be there waiting for it. I love how snow can transform any landscape urban or rural into something entirely different. Something as simple as a  tree in your backyard can turn into something new and beautiful.
On the Road

On the Road

 White out conditions make for deadly travel during the day and at night. I have documented some of the biggest snowstorms on the east coast and if it wasn’t for reliable equipment it could have been ugly a couple times.
Driving through 15" of snow

Driving through 15" of snow

 Being able to get around in snowstorms forced me to sell my old 1999 Chevy  Camaro SS a few years back (still miss her). I needed something that could handle every season and I couldn’t afford to get stuck in two inches of snow again with the SS.


 With a possible snow for the I-95 corridor this weekend, I will keep by eyes on the weather and hope for a snow. Winter better get it’s act in gear soon or I will have to think about moving to Canada. The jet stream needs to change its route, or we won’t see any major snowstorms this year. So far this winter it has stayed to my north and west, We need it t dip in the central US and ride up the eastern seaboard to get some heavy snowfalls.
Super Blizzard 35" of Snow 2010

Super Blizzard 35" of Snow 2010

 February Thundersnow
Battling the Cold

Battling the Cold

Protecting my gear/equipment  is just as important as protecting my well being.
Ice Night

Ice Night

The track a storm takes will determine where the snow/rain line will be. When warm air overrides colder air you can get sleet and freezing rain. Freezing rain is a nightmare, I can drive in 20″ of snow, I can’t drive in freezing rain.. unless it’s a flat road then maybe.  This particular night we had about one inch of freezing rain which brought down numerous trees and powerlines. It also turned the landscape into an incredible winter wonderland. As shown above.
Snow on the Coast

Snow on the Coast

Hope you have a winter filled up tons of snow!

Another Winter Storm Headed For Philadelphia Next Week.


UPDATE: 1.22.2011

Major Winter Storm Arriving Tuesday or Wednesday!

The track is unknown until we see where the center developes.  This is the situation:

1. If the Low tracks closer to the coast we could see a change over from snow to a mixture of snow, sleet and  freezing rain. Areas inland will see higher snow totals because of that.

2. If the Low is further off the coast. The air will remain cold enough and heavy amounts of snow will fall along the I-95 corridor.  As the storm nears, winds will intensify, creating blizzard  conditions which in result will cause downed trees and powerlines. Snow totals could range  anywhere between 6″inches  and  2 feet!! Keep an eye on my blog for future udpates!

Storm Track 1.

Storm Track 2.


 Yet another Winter Storm will impact us early next week. This one could have the potential to dump over 12″ of snow, maybe 2 feet! There is also the down side of receiving a wintry mix, or just plain rain. Let’s hope the storm stays off the coast just enough to keep us in the snow and get the big stuff! The track is uncertain as always, but one thing for sure is this storm is going to be a monster!

Here is the latest forecast model for Sunday, January 23rd, 2010. The yellow line is the potential track of the storm for next week. 

Some models have this thing exploding into a monster as it rides up the coast. This is going to be a significant weather event for millions of people. Keep your eye on your local forecast over the weekend. Just like a rain dance, a snow dance is always encouraged!