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!

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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.

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!

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.

 

 

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!

WARNING! Sunset Sky Show Tonight!

Sunset Sky Show -  The Crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Sunset Sky Show - The Crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter

For the second night in a row we will be able to witness a Celestial Triangle in the western skies around sunset.  Tonight, (Feb. 26th, 2012)  the Moon and Jupiter will be near to each other with Venus shinning bright just below them. The clouds and 50 mph wind gusts last night worried me some,  but the weather worked out perfectly. The clouds actually added a little flavor to this photo.
 
 
 
Where should you look tonight?
 
Look to the west just after sunset and you will see the “trio” piercing the sunset colors.  The best time is to check it out is 15 – 30 minutes after sunset.  The ambient light is much lower making the objects really stand out.
 
 
 
**UPDATE**   –      February 26th, 2012   –   “THE REUNION”
 
I decided to head out again Sunday night for a follow up appointment with the celestial triangle. I did some time lapse photography and still last night. The video will be available shortly. Here is a photo from the “firepit” last night.  The exposure is a couple hours long. Note all of the air-traffic.
 
 
 
Firepit and Celestial Triangle

LAUNCH OF THE NEW WEBSITE!

Jeff Berkes Photography just got a drastic overhaul on the website! New and improved galleries make viewing all  galleries faster and more enjoyable!

Whats new with the website?

Well, just about everything! The entire format has changed, litterally. The “image collection” has a brand new format with large thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail to enlarge it, see captions and descriptions for each image, click on that image again to return to the thumbnail gallery, simple right?

 The “Photo Tours” page has up to date information on 2012 workshops! As of now there are two (2) Nighttime / Meteor Shower Workshops planned for 2012, with others being added in this Spring. The “Exploring America”  Photo Tour page  has two (2) Adventures planned for August and September, one visiting Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as Deadhorse State Park.  The other Tour will be in Yellowstone National Park – Geysers, Landscape and Wildlife.

Hope you enjoy the new design!  If you happen to find any errors please inform us, so we can fix any issue asap! Thanks in advance.. Feedback is always much appreciated!