What to Do After the Eclipse

President's Message

Wide Angle Eclipse Composite by Michael McKeag

Michael describes his image technique as follows: "An HDR composite provides the landscape, sky and sun/moon at totality. The suns, from sunrise to frame exit. at 5-min intervals, were added by layer stacking (lighten blending). The location is a ranch overlooking the Sheep Ranch Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, about 0.9 mi. south of the eclipse centerline. Nikon 20mm f/1.8 + Nikon D800 on fixed tripod. 5-exposure, 1-EV brackets were fired at 5-min intervals starting at sunrise and continuing through frame exit, about 20 min. past C4. Between C2 and C3 two HDR sets were shot (no filter, of course). Camera control was via USB from a laptop running a Solar Eclipse Maestro script. Since the sequence started with the first appearance of the sun over the trees, the camera was pre-focused on Venus before dawn. The camera was mounted on a panorama gimbal head which facilitated precise aiming in azimuth and altitude. Shot planning was done using Sky Safari Pro and Photographer's Ephemeris, with field verification the day before the eclipse. Image processing employed Lightroom, Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, and Photoshop."

The eclipse has come with much fanfare and now it’s over. I loved being on the state capitol steps shouting into the microphone of a sound system that was way inadequate for the size of the crowd we had at the capitol mall, but every moment of it was exciting. (Due to a small glitch in plans, I did not get to meet the governor, but I’ll save that for next time.)  I was surprised at how many people walked up to me to ask questions and how interested they were in the details of what was happening.

We’ve invested so much eager anticipation, hard work and excitement into seeing this one that now we’re left wondering what to do next. Here are some ideas:

  1. Process and upload your images. They can go on our Forum, on our Facebook page, in our 2018 calendar and to our Communications Officer, Paul, for use on our website in the future. Also, Dawn is collecting images for a slide show for our September general meeting.
  2. Donate your undamaged solar glasses. At the September meeting, we’ll have a large box to collect used solar glasses. We’ll send them to our friends at Astronomers Without Borders who will donate them to schools and clubs in South American for the 2019 eclipse going over Chile and Argentina.
  3. Write up your experiences on your blog or where ever you keep your diary.
  4. Start saving for the next eclipse trip that you can afford.
  5. Check the RCA calendar for events at Stub Stewart, Rooster Rock and Maupin. Go to as many star parties as you can for the rest of the observing year, because the season is changing fast.
  6. Watch a sunset. Notice the change in the color of the sky, the slow darkening, how the temperature falls and the wind comes up, daytime and nighttime animals change their behavior. The sun will get blocked by the earth, it will get dark, and the stars and the planets will be visible. It’s not as spectacular as a total solar eclipse, or as rare, but to my mind, it’s as much a miracle as an eclipse. I hope you get a chance to go out and enjoy it.

Margaret McCrea, RCA President