A view from California
Here I am, back again, after a long transition since we moved from China 2 months ago. Now, from a darker sky location in California mostly covered by giant redwoods. This time, however, I won’t tell about the night, but the day, and this is due to our two principal characteres in the scene, the sun and the moon that yesterday gave an splendid romance show for all viewers in the US and many more in the rest of the continent.
I was not in the path of totality, however, I wanted to be prepared to watch the eclipse. Some time ago, before the market started to go too crazy I got a sheet of solar film from Baader Planetarium and with cardboard and glue, built a filter for my telescope and another pair for my giant binoculars.
The day finally came, and as expected the weather wanted to fight against the solar gazers. This time, however, was not the cloud’s fault but a dense fog that came very early in the morning from the ocean and rested pleasingly all over the montains and valleys around. We decided to head north to escape from the fog and it was only after about 40 minutes of driving that the sky started to show some mercy on us. By that time, the moon started to bite the sun and we only had a chance in trusting that the sky would clear more to enjoy the event.
A few miles more to the north and we found a parking lot that seemed good for establishing our solar observation spot. As soon as we parked, I promptly started to put the filter on the binoculars to give a quick look and then to set the telescope. It may have been one of my quickest telescope set ups and by the time I finished, the skies were crystal clear in the east. We had our first views and people started to stop at the same spot to enjoy the eclipse. As soon as they saw the telescope, they wanted to take a look, they were more than welcomed to. Soon it became some sort of eclipse party. I estimate that about 50-80 people had the chance to see the eclipse through my telescope and/or binoculars and a good percentage of them also got a picture with their cellphones. What a nice opportunity to share good manners of co-existence!
We had an amazing time not only observing the sun being shrunk by the moon, but also because we got to chat and share with a hole bunch of other families and individuals, some of them from different parts of the world. Once in a while I checked the telescope, to verify that the eclipse was at the eyepiece and also to try a shot with my iPhone.
I got to follow the eclipse from about 9:30 (local time) through the maximum partial at about 10:15 (75% of the sun covered) and then leaving at 11:05 when most of the people had left the place also. With the 40mm eyepiece I could clearly see the sunspot AR 2671 and it was more evident when the sun was in its “cresecent phase” Unfortunately, the camera could not capture it, but I promise I will try to photograph or sketch it soon.
For now, here is a collage I made from the photos I got in my phone.
Greetings, now from America!
Edited by Jennifer Steinberg (editor in chief).