Annular eclipse report from Bob Gent

Posted by David Eicher
on Monday, May 21, 2012

Early setup time (my scope's on far right and center) as we just arrived, with Lake Powell in the background. All photos by Bob Gent

Here’s an eclipse report from yesterday sent to the magazine by Bob Gent, former president of the Astronomical League. I’ll continue posting a few of these as they roll in from readers. It was mostly cloudy and disrupted here in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but some observers in the area caught glimpses of the partial eclipse. And I know that many of you farther west saw a fantastic annular event.

Keep looking skyward!

Here’s Bob’s report:

Greetings from northern Arizona!

Dead-center, at annularity!
Terrie and I observed the annular eclipse from Page, Arizona, and as I write this, we just finished photographing it from the centerline. (Since the Moon was near apogee, it was too small to cover the entire Sun, so it was an “annular” eclipse.) The weather was really good with clear skies and little wind. We observed it with nearly 100 other astronomers/photographers from Wahweap View in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The vista was great with a panorama in all directions.

We brought up two scopes, a Meade 6600 and a Celestron C8, both on clock drive equatorial mounts. Lunt Solar Systems CEO Andy Lunt and several staffers were there with one of their big gun Hydrogen-alpha scopes, and it was very impressive. I visited them several times to watch the progression of solar prominences. Several large sunspots also kept those with Mylar filters interested. Quite a few of our local Huachuca Astronomy Club members made the almost 500-mile drive from Sierra Vista, Arizona, to Page. The chief park ranger said about 600 people in total visited the viewpoint to watch the eclipse. We had American, French, German, and Japanese tour groups stop by. I took several hundred photos, and here are just three of them.

The end of annularity.
Cheers and clear skies,
Bob Gent

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