The reaction to totality is one of emotion and excitement. To see a hole in the sky where once was the Sun is to say the least...unnerving. The corona, unable to be captured by camera as it is seen with the human eye, has a living quality. Some cry, some think about the insignificance of terrestrial problems...others contemplate the vastness of space and time...still others sense God and are comforted. Everyone has a reaction to this spectacular celestial event. Here you can see and hear the reaction just prior to, during and post totality from some of those who witnessed the event. The perspective is from the observer and not what was observed.
The excitement starts building as first contact approaches. People are milling around. Children are playing and everyone is wondering what the big deal is...nothing seems to be happening. All that changed as second contact approached...the sky looked weird...that colors weren't right...the wind stopped and the temperature started to decrease.
The night before the eclipse I gave my talk to an estimated crowd of over 350 people. They were still walking into the area just before I started. My talk was well received and many of the participants come to my set up area during the eclipse to express their appreciation for the talk. After the talk it started to rain in fits and starts but soon the night gave way to clear skies...however the wind picked up and was blowing into the cloudless sunrise on eclipse day. The locals called it but a breeze...I called it fortuitous for it blew away the clouds
Mission accomplished!!! The primary goal of this expedition was to see a total solar eclipse with my children... everything else was a distant second. We all made it to the base camp in Douglas, WY safe and sound. Here is a preview of what was going on just before totality. I will be posting more on the blog in the next couple of days.
The complete Papa's Great American Eclipse Expedition crew
One week from today and the Moon will eclipse the Sun! All the equipment is packed and ready to travel. The expedition leaves for base camp in 3 days. Everyone is very excited and ready to go. Last minute provisions are being acquired...we are going to be self contained as the center line locations should be pretty much maxed out.
Two of the eclipse crew checking out pin hole solar viewers...notice the technique of these two budding solar astronomers! Well there are 10 days until the eclipse...plenty of time to refine the technique. Pix by MM Iadevaia
Here are the first three slides of my eclipse talk I will be giving the night before the eclipse. It is estimated that 500 people will be at the camp ground for the eclipse! Maybe I should put out a hat. :-)
Tonight the pursuit of the Sun by the Moon has begun. On Monday, 7 August, the Moon will be full as it moves closer toward its new moon phase in 14 days...then on 21 August, the unseen Moon captures the Sun and for about 2.5 minutes subdues its light to extinction. The Great American Eclipse has begun!
REGARDING LIVE VIDEO STREAM FROM ECLIPSE BASE CAMP
Live streaming of the eclipse and activities pertaining to
the eclipse will be sporadically transmitted between 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM MDT
(1400 to 2000 UTC) on the day of the total solar eclipse, 21 August 2017.
Streaming will include the actual period of totality which will begin at 11:20
AM MDT (1720 UTC)... totality is at 11:45 MDT (1745 UTC). If you miss the live
stream the sessions will be recorded and available on my YouTube Live Channel.
If you are at one of the grandkids’ school tune into the channel and leave your
computer on the channel from 8:00 AM MDT (7:00 AM Tucson time) to 2:00 PM (1:00
PM Tucson time) and anytime we transmit a segment you will see it live.
Teachers of the
grandkids…the grandkids will be transmitting their reports during this time
period. Their parents can send you a text when they will actually be on air. Be
sure to give their parents a number to text to if you need to know specific
times. That’s the best I can do. I will be extremely busy up to totality
collecting data and making sure the science equipment is working properly.
The URL for my YouTube live stream as well as the recorded
The live video stream is dependent on a trouble free
satellite uplink from my satellite ground station. There will be a delay of
0.75 seconds or longer due to the round trip of 48,000 miles from my base camp
to the satellite and back and bandwidth usage at the time. You will not notice
this delay except the times of the activities transmitted from the base camp
time stamp might differ from your local clock. That is the reason I will start
the totality coverage at 11:20 AM MDT.
If the weather is not cooperating at the base camp we will
be activating the escape plan and head to clear skies. The eclipse will be
recorded with portable equipment and uploaded to the satellite when we return
to the base camp. That video will also be available on my channel.
If you are interested in reading some fun sci-fi while you
wait for totality download my book "Of Stranger Things" at:
Several people have ask me about taking a picture of the eclipse using a cellphone. There are several problems that arise. The first is if you do not have a proper solar filter covering the lens of the cellphone camera during the partial phase DO NOT try it.!!!There is a very good chance that you will fry your cellphone camera's detector. However during totality, when you remove your solar glasses, you can attempt to take an image of the eclipsed Sun. The second problem is one of focal length. Below you see two images of the Sun...one taken with a cellphone at maximum zoom the other image is taken with a 600 mm focal length lens...both with proper solar filters attached...guess which is which?? Go ahead an try you never know what you might capture! Some cellphones have great zooming capabilities. Try zooming in on the Moon this week to see how big an image your cellphone camera can display. 17 days until the eclipse!
All testing has been completed and the equipment is now in bins..a total of 10 bins! The satellite ground station will be the last piece of equipment to be packed up. Linda is coordinating base camp organization. Elise and Wyatt are planning special meals for the entire base camp group the day and night before the eclipse. The grand kids are getting excited. Everyone is pitching in to make this a very special event. Now the weather watch begins and the escape plan has been made but hopefully not have to be implemented...but the goal is to see the eclipse...the science in this case is secondary...because I will be with my children for a total solar eclipse...I have waited 26 years for this!
This is one of three canopies that will be used at base-camp during the eclipse. It is important to determine how it will withstand a windy environment and what reinforcement measures must be used. 44 days until the eclipse!!!!!
It is important to have an eclipse weather escape plan. Fifty four days out and the extended forecast is for rain and clouds at the basecamp in Douglas. Not a worry at this time because the night before the eclipse a go or stay decision will be made...but it is prudent to have a plan in place. 54 days until the eclipse!!!
One of the eclipse experiments includes the launch of 55 high altitude balloons with student built camera payloads. Part of a NASA Space Grant program the goal is to capture images and video of the Moon's shadow as it moves along the path of totality from an altitude of 80,000 feet. Here you see the ERAU team test flight of their system. The test was successful in that the video stream worked very well. Although the burst altitude was 76,000 feet, short of the target 80,000 feet, a fix will allow for the target altitude to be reached during the eclipse flight. As a member of ANSR I will be part of the support team by radio contact with the launch team and the balloon in flight from my base camp in Douglas. The balloon will launch from Glendo, WY. under the direction of the Arizona Near Space Research (ANSR) group lead by Jack Crabtree.
60 days until the eclipse!!!
I tested the video streaming system that will be used during the eclipse. Part of the test included just letting the system stream for a length of time to determine if there would be a bandwidth problem. It was a very successful video streaming test today from Embry Riddle Aeronautic University (ERAU) Prescott. Here is the complete 38 min test...if you are so inclined to view it. Thanks to all who participated in the test! The ERAU/Arizona Near Space Research (ANSR) NASA Space Grant high altitude balloon systems test was successful as well.
62 days until the eclipse!!!!
Linda will be capturing images of the corona during totality. Here we see her testing two methods of mounting the camera...a standard tripod and ball mount vs an equatorial mount. The equatorial mount wins out because of stability and ease of tracking the Sun.
Testing the internet satellite ground station to be used during the total solar eclipse. This system should provide a solid internet connection for live streaming of the eclipse activities to my grand childrens' schools!
I conducted a live test of the Eclipse Solar Telescope at Sabino Canyon. The purpose of the test was to determine any potential problems in the set up process. The need for testing of all the various systems that will be used for the eclipse will insure that all work flawlessly.
I have explored two alternatives to the radio jove solar eclipse experiment that I believe will result in more meaningful data about any ionospheric changes that might occur during the eclipse. Both methods deal with VLF and rely on standard radio transmissions which can be used as a control in the experiment.
I have been extensively testing one system based out of Stanford and in conjunction with the SARA group and still connected with NASA...which monitors sudden ionospheric disturbances (SID). I am very impressed with the results and the design of the experiment. Unfortunately my equipment for the Jove experiment seems to be inadequate as is the experimental design.
Being self-funded I have to carefully choose which experiments I will conduct during the eclipse that will have success of supplying useful scientific data. I am changing to the VLF SID experiment.
We are all after the same thing...we just take different roads to get there. All approaches to solving a problem in nature are viable...some just work better than others.
I have been selected (one of many) as a NASA-approved expert (SME) for the solar eclipse My eclipse activities at the KOA Douglas, WY...my basecamp... is now a NASA recognized event . NASA will provide the event coordinator an eclipse care package of educational materials.
Today the Sun woke up and participated in my experiment! I am testing the receiver and spectrograph that will be used during the upcoming solar eclipse as part of a NASA Radio Jove Solar Eclipse Team. This is what a solar burst looks like on the spectrograph.
The motivation for Papa's 2017 Great American Eclipse Expedition
While the years have not been kind to the video tape, here is the motivation for Papa's 2017 Great American Eclipse Expedition. You will see the beginning and end of totality as well as hear the reaction of scientists during the start of totality. I was busy collecting data during the eclipse...that I eventually gave to my Russian colleagues resulting a published paper on the corona.
This is the antenna and Radio Spectrograph test configuration that will be used during the eclipse. As part of the NASA Radio Jove Eclipse Observing Team, data will be collected during the eclipse to analyze solar activity in the radio spectrum centered at 20.1 MHz. The Moon may act as a shield to any solar radio emissions or ionospheric changes may be observed.
Here is the new and improved Solar Video Eclipse Telescope. It will have the ability to display either white light or H-alpha live video or the eclipse. When wired into the portable video studio not only will the images be displayed on the large monitor at the base-camp but also streamed to the internet. This test shows that the concept works and can be packaged into a single container for easy transport. Image scale will be tweaked.
Results from 3 Feb 2017 Solar Eclipse equipment test and broad area video test indicated that the video transmission connection was stable according to reports from several participates in AZ and CA. Several minor problems were uncovered during the test but everything considered, it went well. The 4 min live video test was recorded and is located here:
This evening 3 Feb 2017 from 7:00 PM MST (6:00 PM PST and 9:00 PM EST) I will be conducting an initial test of the Solar Eclipse Telescope System. The test will include a live video transmission. If you would like to participate in the video portion of the test follow these instructions:
The video window will say OFF AIR until I start transmitting. If you go to the channel before I go live just stay there and it will start. I will begin transmitting at approx 7:00 pm MST and continue for at least 15 minutes. You should see the me and some of the eclipse team then the Moon. That's the plan.
In the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and all scientists past and present...the work of science has always been made possible with the the help of sponsors...in the case of Galileo or Kepler...by prominent families. Today one submits a proposal to help fund the research to be done. In that great tradition, a means of having those members of the public interested in continuing the time honored method of funding science has been established. I thank you for your support and if you are so inclined, to help defray a portion of the cost of the expedition follow the link at https://www.gofundme.com/papas-2017-great-american-eclipse.