Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Lisa was ideally placed to watch today's annular eclipse, as the "sweet spot" passed right over Fernley. She created a viewing box with a pinhole in it and tells me that she was able to see the "ring of fire" during the maximum coverage (about 96%). Where I was in San Jose the maximum coverage was less, and my viewing a bit more haphazard. I improvised a pinhole viewer with a piece of cardboard salvaged from the recycle bin. When I first tried it out from my apartment, I saw that initially the sun angle in my window was right, and I projected a disc with a notch cut out of it against my wall.

I then went to the lobby on my floor, where I found three kids trying to figure out how to watch the eclipse. I cautioned them repeatedly about trying to look at the sun and started to wield my impromptu pinhole board, when I realized that the way the blinds and curtains on the third floor lobby were drawn, they were forming a series of pinhole views and you could see the image of the sun projected multiple times. We watched the sun head toward the maximum coverage and I tried to impress upon the kids the rarity of this sight. I don't remember seeing a solar eclipse since (I think) 1993 in Folsom.

As the angle of the sun changed, the lobby no longer had a view of the sun that worked, and I headed outside, where I searched for places where I could project the solar image as the lunar notch moved across it. Belatedly I remembered that I should try to take some pictures, and I quickly ran up to my room to get my new Sony camera that replaced the one I broke at Renovation. In my haste, I forgot to put a memory stick into it, however, and thus I only had a little bit of capacity for photos.

Here's an shot of my improvised pin-hole projection, shortly after maximum coverage in San Jose. I then looked up and realized that there was a much more interesting image being formed by the trees and the wall behind them.

The trees were forming a bunch of natural lenses, leaving this remarkable dappled effect of hundreds of eclipse images.

A number of people came by and asked what I was doing, and all of them seemed interested in being able to actually see why it had gotten somewhat darker for the past half hour or so. They'd heard about the eclipse on the news but didn't know how to view it.

As the sun regained full brightness, I headed back inside and called Lisa. She sent me some of the photos she tried taking.

This is a shot from inside of Lisa's welding hood. However, as she explained, her welding hood doesn't have the heavy #14 glass — hardly anyone uses anything that dark — and in fact she wishes she had the kinds of glasses used for watching H-bomb tests. (Spoken like a true child of Los Alamos.)

Even with most of the sun occluded, there was still enough light to dazzle the camera. Lisa complained that during the near-totality, a cloud drifted across the sun, spoiling the view in the pinhole box.

This evening I realized that I'd gotten too much sun (including the long walk I took around Quarry Lakes earlier today, about which more later when I get a chance), because I'm sunburned. Oh, the irony. I hope the sun-relief ointment left over from my return from Australia is still effective.
Tags: eclipse, fernley, lisa

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