March 2018: It is Springtime, and the Planets are back!

Now mid-March 2018 and there are planets in the sky!  Here are some of the notable moments.

If you look to the west right after sunset you will catch bright Venus and fleeting (and fainter) Mercury. On March 18th, just after sunset, you might also be able to catch the very young, sliver moon, low on the western horizon.

March 18th 2018 looking west right after sunset.

March 18th 2018 looking west right after sunset.

Are you and early riser? Then you will be able to catch the other bright planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and the Moon visible at about 5:30am looking southeast on March 12th 2018.

Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and the Moon visible at about 5:30am looking southeast on March 12th 2018.

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A Meditation on The 21 August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

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The Sun Acts Up: 4-September-2017

There are two massive sunspot groups (and a couple of smaller groups) visible today. This taken at 1434UT using a Nikon D810 and 500mm telephoto through Baader film.  Click image for full resolution.

2017-09-04-sunspots

2017-09-04-sunspots

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High Dynamic Range Imagery

With some more time back at the regular computer, I have had the ability to merge some of the eclipse images together to make a solid HDR image of totality. This is what I call quite the Photoshop workout. This is a merge of 12 images ranging from innermost corona out to the outermost corona that did not wipe out the moon’s dark disk.  Some 20 hours went into this. The star to the lower left is Regulus in Leo. 

HDR of the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse.

HDR of the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse.

 

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Totality from Casper, Wyoming

The eclipse was a perfect success! Clear skies prevailed throughout totality, with forest fire smoke and clouds coming in after it was all done. The temperature dropped from 88 to 68F, stunning! The corona was larger than those I had seen before. We had prominences and more. MANY images to deal with and not fast internet, so please be patient while I get these things edited and out there. It might take a while… a week or more. In the meantime, here are a couple of unedited shots. 

Casper was most generous: we had an excellent space from which to observe: green grassy fields on to the hill to the east of town. The parking lot lights and grass watering sprinkler systems had been disabled for the day. The medical center even provided a lunch at the end!  

Mid Corona 2017

Totality: This is the mid-corona using a longer exposure to show the fainter regions.

 

Inner corona 2017

Totality: The inner corona. Note the fain, pink solar prominences on the right limb.

 

Partial stage 2017

Partial stage as the eclipse begins. There are a few sunspot groups to see there.

 

Diamond ring 2017

The diamond ring as the eclipse reaches totality.

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