Excellent eclipse belated report


The weather improved as the week wore on setting up a classic if cool night for the eclipse. I had to fix my tire in the afternoon before heading to my observing location due to a nail through the tread. Traffic getting across the tunnel was not so bad despite the hour. 1530, normally a dread time to be on the freeway in this town.

I got up at 0315 to find the sky perfectly clear ad the wind blowing about 15knts. 65 degrees but the wind made it feel cooler. Temps dropped to the 50's by the time the sun was rising and the moon was setting in the west.

Mars was high in the zenith and looked for all the world like a tennis ball being served by Orion. Auriga was on the other side of the net. It was fun to see the limb start to darken as the penumbra spread across the face of the moon. As I was getting started I realized that even though it was 0330 here it was 11 in the evening in Hawaii. This gave me a good chance to get even for all those late night calls I receive from there. A friend lives on 5 acres on the windward side of the big island on the slopes of Mauna Kea below the observatories T 1100 feet elevation. He was just going to bed thinking the eclipse was Tuesday night not Tuesday morning. Got him out of bed as the eclipse was total in Hawaii at midnight.  Had him on the phone for the whole 2 hour evolution. Everything that I saw he saw, but upside done or maybe I was upside down.. The diamond ring was at 5 o'clock on the moon for me and 11 o'clock for him.

The Pleiades was right over the moon and showed nicely in my 20x80 binoculars mounted on a parallelogram tripod. I was using a zero gravity lounge chair. I took in the double cluster, upside down of course and a couple of other sights in the free moments.

The eclipse was all you could ask for.  I was a bit concerned that the moon would be fairly low but I had no problems from my location. Just perfect. Glad I had on my cols weather gear though. It was quite interesting see the sky lighten around 0530 as the moon sank into the horizon. That was a nice effect and made for a special night going from dark to the next day in a sitting.

Hawaii had passing clouds as that side of the Big Island is rainy and overcast moist of the time. But it cleared up for my friend for most of the eclipse and only clouded over at the end. Of course they could have seen the entire sequence but once you have totality you have the story. As they are 5 hours in back of us that should put them about 1/4 of the way around the planet. Funny to think that you can easily speak to someone on a cell phone that far away while looking at the same event. as it happens. A pretty neat evening.