Total Solar Eclipse August 21st, 2017

On July 11th, 1991, my wife and I observed a Total Eclipse from Hawaii that at its maximum eclipse lasted for 6 minutes and 53 seconds, one where there will not be a longer eclipse until June 13th, 2132. It was my second as I had seen one when I was 14 which occurred on February 26th, 1979.  My Dad had pulled me out of school and we had gone north to visit my grandparents and his brother who lived in Washington and we observed as we could with welder glasses the Total Eclipse up there. I have also seen several annular eclipses and have enjoyed them .

This year I had initially planned to go to Idaho to see this "North American Eclipse" (I find that a weird name since we have had other eclipses over North America or portions of North America in the past) which I will call the eclipse of August 21st, 2017, or eclipse of 8/21/17.  Anyway, my work load has been rather large this new school year, conducting various trainings and developing them for delivery at our school district and delivering them. As such, I didn't feel I could take time off based on the schedule so I opted not to go to Idaho. Yeah, a huge amateur astronomy fan NOT going to a major Astronomical event in his backyard.  Oh well, decisions.

So instead, I decided to take a few hours off from home, and take out my LS35 deluxe solar scope (no longer manufactured unfortunately) and invite neighbors to come over and steal a view. Yep, I was going to do an outreach event in my neighborhood.  Here is a picture from my backyard of the LS35s Deluxe Solar Scope.

Well, needless to say, I taught my neighbor how to use the solar scope and the TeleVue Solar Finder as I had a meeting that morning and wasn't sure what time I would get there. I had left it on the Tripod, and he had it set up but as is typical for someone the first time they use this type of scope and finder, he was unsure of getting the Sun in the eyepiece. I arrived at 10:15am and he was just out of having it centered in the eyepiece. I quickly centered it, using a 24mm Explore Scientific 68 degree eyepiece, and then put in a 12mm Agena Astro ED (I use the 25mm and 12mm Agena Astro ED for Outreach, they are very good eyepieces for this) and was pleasantly surprised to see three major predominances on the left edge/side of the sun.  I watched the moon make first contact and then began to share. 

Here are some images of the moon just after first contact as it began its journey to 91% with images through the leaves of this same image appearing. 

These are a few more images that appeared as the moon kept up its journey. Leaves are getting more refined and the shape of the eclipse is easier to identify.

The last picture and the third from the bottom are probably the best for showing the moon coming across the sun continuing the journey. 

These shots reflect about maximum of the journey near Salt Lake City with 91% of the Sun covered by the moon. These were taken by my neighbor Ken, a pilot for Delta who was home and he did a great job of capturing as we moved twoard 91%. At the time I was more concerned with letting as many people observe the eclipse then taking time for my own shot. I am grateful to Ken for getting these in and sharing them. 

Here as we get closer to what is totality in Salt Lake City, 91%, you can see extra fingers form between your fingers on your shadow on the ground. 

Below, the mount is showing eclipse shadows where it usually shows just a circle of light. 

Near 91% now as the leaves continue to show the change. The temperature dropped from 86 degrees F to 72 degrees F in our neighborhood as we got to 91%. This was measure by my neighbor Mr. Hanson who has a weather station on his home. 

Above shows about 2/3 of the turnout with people looking through the scope, my neighbors Cal and Ken were running my scope which was cool to watch. Lots of neighbors who couldn't travel to Idaho came over and looked through their solar eclipse glasses and through the telescope and enjoyed each other's company. I think of all things related to this, several items stick out. First, a teen girl who was just amazed you could look through a telescope and see the Sun with sunspots and prominence's easily seen while the moon is eclipsing it! Her excitement was contagious. Next, how something like this brings people together, whether in the path of totality or in their neighborhood with only 91% of totality.  A total eclipse is incredible, and a tremendous experience. I have seen two in my life and they are. However, it is the events above that often help us to come together down below. I think we need more events above in the world we live in. We have a Total Lunar Eclipse on January 31st, 2018 coming up LINK  and then on what will be my son's 30th birthday on April 8th, 2024 another Total Solar Eclipse LINK

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