The Great Eclipse of 2017!

I’m posting this today because meh, lazy. Anyway…

There was an eclipse on Monday! It didn’t get very much coverage in the press so I doubt you heard about it but I guess I was one of the few and decided to tell the family. Lucky for us, Ann’s parents also heard about it and bought us those nifty eclipse-viewing glasses.

But before any of that started, we had to make a run to 85 Café and Bakery to load up on some eclipse munchies.

Photo Aug 21, 10 34 34 AM

Their cookies are bomb-tastic. So is their bread and everything else they make. Yeah, I know Krispy Kreme was selling their crazy-themed Eclipse Doughnuts or whatever but 85 Café sells their famous sea salt coffee for the amazingly low price of – wait for it – 85 cents on Mondays. And it was soooo good. I’d pay regular price for that over anything from Starbucks.

Bluetooth speaker ready with cheesy, somewhat appropriate (oh, George…) songs playing. Food ready. Let’s go blind!

There was a window of about 2.5 hours here in California where you could view the eclipse which was only at 61% totality from this vantage point. The eclipse began about 9:12 or so with maximum eclipsage at roughly 10:21.

So we donned our glasses and looked up, and it’s pretty impossible to not look like an album cover for a German synth band* when you do that.

Photo Aug 21, 10 26 40 AM

And do you know how difficult it is to blindly take a selfie? These glasses are pitch dark so I didn’t know what I was shooting, but I’m glad I have long arms to say the least.

Shooting others, however, is easy.

Photo Aug 21, 11 09 00 AM

This is Anthony and his friend since toddlerhood. They’ve had their moments but a true friend always sticks around through thick and thin. I wish I could say that about certain other “friends” of his.

Photo Aug 21, 10 36 01 AM

Lookie here! While the easiest way to view the eclipse without looking like a dork or burning your retinas like a goddamned fool is to simply poke a hole in tin foil and project that image onto a smooth surface, you didn’t even have to do that. Nature, as always, shows us the way by taking the sun’s eclipsed rays and shining them through the trees, giving you these crescent-shaped objects.

Stupid nature. Why does the “President” hate you so much?

Finally at 10:21, we reached maximum coverage for our neck of the woods. Friends in Missouri and Oregon reported that their street lights turned on and the cicadas started chirping. We weren’t that lucky but we were able to see this.

Photo Aug 21, 10 21 51 AM

You could mess with your iPhone until the cows came home to get a decent shot but there’s a good chance you’d get an oversaturated, non-eclipsed blob. Not me. Ohhh no, not me.

I took this shot with one eye of the eclipse glasses over the lens of my iPhone. I then used MuseMage camera app for iPhone which allows total control over mostly everything. In this case, I chose a slower shutter speed (longer exposure) coupled with a high ISO (more sensitivity to light), and maxed out my zoom. All that to get this. Totally worth it.

I remember the last one and it was much better because the sun was giving off this really weird blue color. They say the next one won’t be until 2024. That’s not too far off and I’ll be eligible for senior discounts by then – which sucks.

Either way, barring my untimely demise, I’m almost certain we’ll be out there looking up yet again. And maybe the next one will get a *little* more press than this one.


*Yes, I know that’s a fictional band from The Big Lebowski. Just go with it, man.

Blogging 365, Day 21: The Moon and Jupiter

Tonight we had another cool celestial event in which Jupiter appeared to be pretty close to the moon. I had two telescopes and three cameras outside with me and despite it appearing close to the naked eye, it was difficult to get them in the same frame with a telescope.

And I experimented with the cameras and several settings on each in order to capture the moment. Well, I gave it the old college try and this was the best I could come up with after all of the shots I took (click for slightly larger version). I did just a little enhancing with Photoshop to darken the moon as it was a bit bright in the original shot.

Moon and Jupiter, 1-21-13

Related posts you may be interested in:

Wordless Wednesday: Moon


As seen through Anthony’s new telescope. Taken with my LG Optimus Elite and edited with Pixlr Express.

Moon, Sun, Venus

There have been quite a few interesting events happening in the skies this year.

First, we had the Super Moon – and we and the neighbors had a little viewing party (all images enlarge when clicked):

super lores

A few weeks later we had a solar eclipse which we weren’t able to see with a pinhole viewing device since Anthony and I were at Dodger Stadium watching our team beat up the Cardinals. But fortunately, we were kept abreast of the event as it was being shown on what was once called the Mitsubishi Diamondvision screen:

eclipse lores

It was really strange seeing the light it produced, as is evident by this shot of the outfield bleachers. Keep in mind that this was at 6:37pm according to the clock on the scoreboard. Note the bluish hue rather than the standard yellow:

bleachers lores

Here’s another shot I took in panorama mode:

Dodger Game 048 tm

Then today, we had the Venus Transit in which Venus crossed in front of the sun. It took the planet 6 hours to complete its journey, something that won’t happen again until 2117.

Needless to say, we’ll all be gone by then and none of this will matter. But in the meantime, enjoy one of the many shots I took with no less than four filters – red, green, blue, polarizer – taped to the end of my zoom lens:

venus lores

The big black spot is Venus and the smaller, faded ones are sunspots. I just used the branches and power line to frame the shot a little bit. Here’s one from earlier in the day without all the artsy stuff to distract you:

venus2 lores

Just think about it: everyone who saw this today will be gone the next time around. Pretty humbling, isn’t it?

The universe is an amazing and wondrous place. We should all take more time to explore it and see all it has and continues to offer.