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Messages - DDK

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Side note - you didn't have to be in a big crowd to catch the eclipse. Wags and Marko, as noted in their OR's here, were around Salem, in family groups. Our buddies Jimmy and Val (non-TACos) camped along a forest road out of Marion Forks, on the west ridge of the Cascades, with 4 other people. Charlie and Susan Wicks camped north of Mitchell, Oregon, some 40 miles from Prineville, in a valley with maybe 20 other folks.
Meanwhile in Madras there were >20,000 people at Solarfest, and in the Ochoco NE of Prineville there were way >30,000 at Moonshadow.
Apparently there are those among us who like crowds.

Found a good peaceful spot well within the totality band, a wide double turnout on hwy 26 NW of Prineville, just on the south edge of the Crooked River Nat'l Grasslands. Good for 1:30 of totality. At 7 am there was me and a young woman who'd slept in her car; there were around 20 of us there by the time things got serious.

Serious indeed. I'm still soaking in what I saw. Rozerman wrote up a succinct report, which more or less captures what I saw - "Temperature drop of 20 degrees. High contrast double shadows of everything. Twisted asymetric Corona. Two naked eye prominences at 12:00 and 3:00. Brilliant diamond ring at 3rd contact."

There were those cool sun crescents all under the trees, those I'd seen before. And like a lot of us, I've read a lot about total solar eclipses all my life. Cripes, the first time I heard about this 2017 eclipse, I was just around 6, 60 years ago!

It did get chilly, I went and put a hoodie on. We were on a rise, so as totality approached, we could see the big shadow of the Moon swoop up along the grasslands from the west. Fwoo. That I'd been told to expect.

But when that last thin stripe of the Sun disappeared, I was completely caught off guard. Instead of that bright Sun that's there even in a big partial, there was a very black round disk where the Sun had just been. Searched for a full day afterward for a descriptor, came up with "fucking arcane." Not believable.

What I saw was a corona close around the Sun, with several spikes at different angles that looked like broad-based diffraction spikes in a telescope. No wonder it got named "crown." Like Wagner, I did note that there weren't the spread-out wings that show in some totals. Off the eastern edge, I did see one extended piece of corona that shimmered.

There was a brilliant prominence at 3 o'clock, that was garnet-colored! And there was another one to 1 o'clock. Those would have been at around 210 and 280 degrees on the sky. And the Sun first reappeared in a very bright point, what Rozer named as that brilliant diamond ring at 3rd contact.

When I first learned, swear 60 years ago, that the next total eclipse in our part of the world would be in 2017, that was scifi future, colonies on the Moon, flying cars. I do remember deciding at the time that I might not have to memorize the date, it might come up.

Like Rozer, I'm glad this is finally done with. Still, it was so completely worth the trip. Thoroughly unforgettable.

Observing Reports / Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« on: Yesterday at 05:06:37 PM »
You'd asked where I'd been, somehow knew I missed something. I stayed over in Prineville, just NE of Bend. The day before I'd scouted out a wide double turnout 8 miles NW of town, at the south edge of the Crooked River National Grasslands. 1'30" of totality, and I skipped all those writhing hordes in Madras (>20,000) just to the NW and the Ochoco Nat'l Forest to the NE (way >30,000). Don't like crowds.

A couple guys in a big orange truck were at that turnout all week, from the Oregon Dept of Transportation, Mike and Jim. Very good guys; their assignment was to cover that area for 5 days just to help travelers. And as it turned out, there were some 20 of us at that spot at 1020 on Monday. Congenial bunch.
Thanks for asking! I'll post my own OR next, just you wait and see.

Observing Reports / Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« on: Yesterday at 01:45:30 PM »
First time I've seen one of these, but sure have read about them a lot. The corona varies a lot according to what the Sun is doing, and how close the Moon is to us. Those spikes that looked like diffraction spikes coming off the Sun during totality, that was the corona.

Rozerman posted a brief and pithy OR, "Temperature drop of 20 degrees. High contrast double shadows of everything. Twisted asymetric Corona. Two naked eye prominences at 12:00 and 3:00. Brilliant diamond ring at 3rd contact."

Observing Reports / Re: IN THE MOON'S SHADOW
« on: August 22, 2017, 07:46:02 PM »
What you saw, Wags, was even more awesome than your description. The diamond ring and Bailey's Beads are what you see just as at the very beginning and end of totality, full sunlight peeking around mountains and craters on the Moon.

Your Diamond Ring was the solar corona, its outer atmosphere that we can only see during an eclipse. What you called Bailey's Beads were two bright prominences!

Observing Intents / Re: Eclipse 2017: Planets in a row for eclipse
« on: August 21, 2017, 06:34:22 AM »
That's thoughtful, Marko. I'll be looking!

Observing Reports / Re: Speaking of subtle...
« on: July 27, 2017, 01:41:06 PM »
Phoo, McCarthy et al, I didn't pass along the link for that list. It's still archived at

One of the most fun observing lists around, on purpose! Made with the same philosophy as Steve's DeepMap - these better look good.

Observing Reports / Re: Speaking of subtle...
« on: July 26, 2017, 11:00:16 PM »
McCarthy, have you gone thru the TAC Eye Candy List? Compilation of the RASC, Saguaro and Caron lists, plus some extra goodies thrown in. The whole selection is eyepiece-based.

Might just be time for an intervention, buddy.

TAC Visual / Re: An observation about observation.
« on: July 26, 2017, 03:19:37 PM »
Yup, look at the OI's and esp the OR's here, I've been shamelessly proselytizing the Pinnacles thru this last calendar year. You can see why. Still do hit the Peak frequently, and sure Dino in the winter, but the Pinnacles are one more excellent option we have. At this point I've lost count of how many times I've been observing at Pinnacles over the years. The site doesn't have the Peak's laminar flow magic that makes for 5/5 seeing time after time, but as you can see it's highly dark there. Even darker on the east side, for when you're feeling greedy.

Observing Reports / Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 24, 2017, 01:38:29 PM »
At 10 pm you were ten minutes before astronomical twilight, and aiming to the west. That's hardly fair.

Navarrete talked about seeing a train of satellites, maybe the very same ones you're mentioning. Just those two on Saturday night made my jaw drop.

I was privileged to see and overhear that confirmation. "You saw it and I caught a hint, you can log it."
McCarthy you have become a maven of subtle pleasures.

Observing Reports / Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 23, 2017, 05:46:23 PM »
a) Pierce, that one guy who had counted the 16 telescopes in the lot was me, and there was still daylight when I told you.

b) same Pierce - you got spoiled quick over the sky, buddy. Hardly fair to say the NW quadrant sucked. There was a 5 degree light dome that was maybe 15 degrees long. That's always there from the prison. The other 345 degrees had stars to the horizon. To the south the False Comet in Scorpius was well up and bright. South of Sagittarius there were stars well into Corona Australis.

c) Peter Natscher, tsk. Going on about a modest 16" telescope. You'll have to deal with me in person. Yes good news that people had fun on both sides of our new national park.

Limiting magnitude for Jardine and me was 6.0. Seeing was good 4/5 thru the night. The Milky Way got all the way to impressive by midnight. There were easily 2 dozen people in the lot, cool given that many of them had about a 2-hour one-way drive. Two of the TAC Marks were there, Wagner and McCarthy. Navarrete the Beastmaster is as pretty as ever. A bunch of the SCAC astroids were there having fun, appropriately. Heard Seiler and Gose doing all kinds of useful outreach.

We saw a pass of the ISS that crossed half the sky. And at one point there was a brightly flashing satellite, which turned out to have a paired partner. They traveled together from Ursa Minor thru Cassiopeia all the way into Andromeda. I had never seen such a thing, but it brought out stories of such phenomena as a satellite trio that Richard N had seen.

I just took 10x50 binocs this time, had fun scanning all over the sky. Mooching was also highly successful. Ended with a fun comparison of M33 in binocs and in Bob Kohlenberger's 20 (20?) inch scope.

After very clear dark skies, less than 40 miles to the north, we had marine layer all the way to the ground in Salinas. I am personally all for hilltops.

No such light. There's a light in the bathroom that's motion-sensitive but goes out after a few minutes. Better to stay away from the bathroom anyway.

Observing Reports / Re: Peak 18 June, outreach night, good and dark
« on: July 19, 2017, 05:37:55 PM »
Rumors of the demise of Fremont Peak as a quality observing site continue to be greatly exaggerated. Yes I'm stealing Twain's line. Seeing is often startingly good. A middling night like this one last June new moon shows up a 6.0 limiting magnitude, heaps of stars, excellent detail on all kinds of objects. It's from the Peak that I've caught 4 of the highly valued little dim dwarfs in our Local Group - the Fornax Dwarf, Leo I, IC 10 and the famously elusive WLM.

Too fine a local resource to miss. As Joe Bob would say, DDK sez check it out.

Annual Star Parties / Re: CalStar 2017 Registration is open
« on: July 12, 2017, 12:18:45 PM »
Here we can officially thank Charlie Wicks for all he's done to keep CalStar flourishing. And Beth Winters once again for finding Whiisssper Canyon for us.

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