Countdown to the “Great American Eclipse of 2017”! For the next 3 weeks we will be focusing exclusively on the preparation and the actual event. My wife and I are driving up to Casper, Wyoming on the 15th. That is within reasonable driving distance from southern New Mexico. Basically it’s right in the backyard! Don’t have to fly to Australia or China or take a cruise in the South Pacific! We stop to visit a good friend in Denver on the way up. I registered for the Astrocon which runs from the 15th through that Sunday. The eclipse is Monday the 21st. The Astronomical League , a consortium of around 20,000 amateur and professional astronomers, holds an annual conference somewhere in the US every year. In 2015 it was right here in Las Cruces. This year it’s in Casper which happens to be in the center line of the eclipse! My guess is this thing is going to be a circus and I am not a camper. I made the reservations last Fall. The Astrocon attendees are guaranteed lodging and viewing space for the eclipse. I reserved my spot at a nearby medical center where there will be space to set up equipment. I’ve gone back and forth on the whole equipment thing. A lot of folks are telling me to forget the equipment, just observe it: “you’ll be dinking around with your stuff and will miss the whole thing!” As an imager by trade, it’s very hard to not do that for this kind of thing, arguably the most compelling astronomical event you can observe. I have never seen a total solar eclipse before. Only partials. There was nearly a total eclipse when I was young. I think it was in the late 60’s or early 70’s but we were scared to look at it and just viewed it using the indirect pinhole projection method. Sad! Anyway that was then and this is now. I have my eclipse binoculars, safe solar viewing glasses, my trusty Tak FS102 with glass filter, Celestron AVX and Canon 60D. We have the Celestron Power Tank for mount battery power. I have 4 camera batteries and charger. We’re good to go! Now in the next couple of weeks I need to review imaging practices for this and see if I can get automation to work so I can view the eclipse! I will need to test the equipment and make sure everything works. I used to do a lot of solar HA imaging but just did not have the time to keep it up and sold that platform. I just have the white light set up now. We will see what happens!
Thanks for reading!