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Annular eclipse gazing

May 20, 2012

One of the cool things about living so close to Scotts Bluff National Monument is the access I get to special programs the rangers put on – such as this evening’s annular eclipse viewing.

Summit Road was kept open past its normal time so people could drive up to the top and have an unobstructed view of the western horizon as the moon slid in front of the sun AND there was a nice supply of solar viewers on hand.

“Do not use with binoculars, telescopes, cameras, or any other optical instruments.” Hmmm . . . I suppose that includes iPhones, too. Oh, heck. Let’s try it.

Not too shabby!

Aaaa! Solar flare!
Just kidding! This is what happened when I tried to take a photo with my regular camera and moved while the shutter was open.

Flip the camera around for a self-portrait

While it was not a total eclipse, it definitely got darker – almost like an invisible cloud was passing in front of the sun.

There were a lot of people up on top of the bluff for the eclipse viewing.

The pathways on the western side of the monument were lined with people.

I loved how people who brought their own special equipment were more than happy to share to help other people experience and/or photograph the eclipse.

The guy on the left was letting the guy with the tripod use his special telescope filter for his camera.

There’s definitely something to be said for old-fashioned technology. A pinhole in a piece of paper projecting a light beam showed the progress of the eclipse just as well as the fancy viewers did.

Thanks to the guy who let me see his pinhole viewer. Too bad my camera didn’t focus.

Want to know when the next solar eclipses will be visible in North America? Check out these images from NASA (which took a really long time to download – busy servers this evening!). Note: the images show the paths of best viewing, but there is still a wide range outside of the main path where the eclipse can be seen. We here in western Nebraska were a long way from the path marked for the May 20, 2012, annular eclipse, but we still got a good show.

Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw, except for the NASA photos

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2012 8:22 am

    Looks like we’ll be in luck for the 2017 total solar eclipse! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people out at the Monument at one time as there were for last night’s eclipse viewing…next up is the transit of Venus on June 5th!

  2. May 21, 2012 2:09 pm

    Fantastic! Why did I know you’d blog about this?

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