My Viewing Experience Of Sunday's Annual Eclipse 05/20/2012

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Fat Man
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My Viewing Experience Of Sunday's Annual Eclipse 05/20/2012

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Well, I certainly had some fun this last Sunday, April 20,2012 watching the annular eclipse of the sun.


Of course, I didn't get to see the complete ring around the edge of the moon, but I got to see this much as depicted in the next image below.


This is a depiction of the image I saw projected onto the sheet of white poster board that I was holding behind the 2x Barlow lens on my telescope. I was projecting the sun's image, and looking at the projected instead of looking through the telescope, because I don't have proper sun filters yet.

OK, now before anyone calls me a liar because they have seen that the crescent was actually on the bottom and not on the top, while looking at the sun through dark glass, one must bear in mind, that the image in astronomical telescopes is inverted, another word's, up-side-down.

I remember when I was a kid back in the 1960s I checked out an astronomy book about observing through a telescope, and when it showed maps of the moon, south was on top and north was on the bottom.

Anyway . . .

The sun was supposed to have set at 7:58 PM and the complete ring was to appear a few minutes before sunset.

But where I was at, in the down town area, the sun had set at 7:45 PM. The sun rise and sun set times given here in El Paso Texas is according to observations made at the El Paso Airport. So, anyone in that part of town would have seen the sun set at 7:58 PM, and anyone at the north end of town on Mesa street or out on the high desert west of El Paso might have seen the sun set shortly after 8:00 PM, so where I was at, In the down town area south of the Franklin Mountains, I saw the sun go down at 7:45 PM, so, I didn't get to see the complete ring.

Well, that's OK, I still had fun sitting out in the hot sun (Hey! That rhymes!) and getting to see most of the sun covered until it looked like a crescent, just before the sun finally set.

I had to go about 5 blocks or so away from my apartment building to search for an area that would give me a clear view of the western horizon where there would be no houses blocking my view of the sun when it would be setting. So, I rode my JAZZY power chair, carrying my telescope with one of the tripod legs on the footrest, and I was holding onto the tripod with one hand and working the joystick with my other hand, riding my JAZZY power chair until I found a parking lot across some railroad tracks in front of a small business place that was closed on Sundays to set up my telescope. I got there before 6:33 PM when the eclipse was to begin.

I had arrived at about 6:15 PM to set up my telescope. When I projected sun's image, it had a nice sharp edge, and I could see those cute little sunspots on the face of the sun. Well, actually, sun spots are not little. They're regions of magnetic storms and a typical sunspot is several times the size of the earth, but in comparison to the sun which is 865,000 miles miles in diameter, they look kind of small, and yes, kind of cute! Well, at least to me! OK?

Then about 6:33 PM, I saw a small bite being taking out of the sun, and then, the bite gradually became larger, covering more of the sun's face. Yeah! It looked like that hungry ol' moon was having the sun for lunch! Hey, Luna! Chew your food before you swallow! OK? Uh huh! Poor ol' Sol was taken out for lunch, only, he was the lunch!

OK! I'm being silly now! Of course everyone with common sense knows that the moon is not actually eating the sun, that it's only because the moon in it's orbit around the earth sometimes gets in front of the sun, thus, causing an eclipse.

The ancient Chinese, many centuries ago believed that it was a giant dragon trying to eat the sun, so they would yell and shout, and bang on gongs to make a lot of noise to scare the dragon away.

Yeah, I did have one little problem. Some telephone wires got in the way for a few minutes, then a stupid telephone pole got in the way for about 10 minutes, so I took a break, and smoked a cigar while waiting for the sun to re-emerge from behind the stupid telephone pole. Yeah! Like, smoke 'em if ya got 'em!

When you live in the city, surrounded by buildings and utility poles, you really don't have much choice in the matter.

Anyway . . . . .

At least I did get to see most of the eclipse before the sun finally went down. And I did notice that the sun light on the ground became somewhat less intense, and the sky did darken slightly, and there seem to be a very slight drop in temperature, but still, not nearly as dramatic as what would be seen during a total eclipse, and also, even that thin ring around the moon is still too bright to look at without proper eye protection.

That's why I don't look as the sun through my telescope, but use a 2x Barlow lens to project the sun's image onto a sheet of white poster board and look at the projected image instead, as depicted in the next picture below.


Yeah! I can never emphasize this enough!

When ever I post anything about observing the sun with a telescope, I shall always post the above image as a safety reminder. OK?

That's because, when I talk about solar astronomy and observing the sun, I want readers to take heed, because I don't want some moron out there trying to sue me, or some shit like that, after reading any one of my topics on solar astronomy.

OK, I'm being cynical again?

Anyway . . . . .

Shortly after the sun finally went down, I got ready go back home.

After crossing the railroad tracks, I was about a half a block away when I could hear a train approaching the crossing, so I turned around to watch the train go by, because, along with watching eclipses, I also like to watch trains. And today, I got treated to both.

So, all and all, today was a really cool day! Well, actually, it was hot because of the sun, but you all know what I mean.

Yeah! Two things I enjoy watching. Eclipses and trains.

Much better than watching football. Eh?
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