Annular Eclipse of the Sun

I had heard about the upcoming eclipse, but I hadn’t realized until Friday morning that it was a full annular eclipse near this part of the world.  So I started researching where I needed to go to see the whole thing.

The red line was the center of the eclipse. The blue lines denote the limits of where the moon was visible entirely within the outline of the sun. (Click for larger.)


I wanted to be somewhere south of the upper blue line.  In the hopes of somehow combining some interesting scenery with the eclipse, I finally settled on going to Valley of the Gods in southern Utah (pink dot on the map).

By the time I finally got the Xterra loaded with camping and photography gear, it was raining/snowing around noon on Saturday.  I knew I wasn’t going to make it all of the way to the Valley of the Gods, so my first night was spent in one of my favorite places near Arches National Park, Klondike Bluffs.

Klondike was warm and clear.  Once I settled on a camping spot (there was no one around for miles), I set up my camera and did a few test shots of the sun.  Overall, an idyllic evening.

The sun before the eclipse, with sunspots visible on the surface.

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Sunrise Lunar Eclipse

This morning there was a total eclipse of the moon at sunrise.  The moon set in the west while the sun rose in the east.

Click photos for a larger version

Sometimes I do things the hard way.  I could have just parked beside the road and got some decent photos.  No, I had to try and hike to a nearby mountain top through more than a foot of snow.  The early morning cold fogged my judgment and I left the snowshoes in the car.  It made for slow going.

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When it became apparent that the mountain top was still 20 minutes away and it looked like the moon was going to set before then, I stopped and found a clearing.  I never made it to the mountain top.

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There was quite a bit of air pollution in the east and the sunrise was very red.  The snow in these photos is reflecting that reddish light from the east.

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Due to the mountains and Colorado being a bit too far east for this eclipse, totality occured after it was below the horizon.

Full Moon

There was some media hyperbole about the full moon this past weekend.  Because of the irregularity of the moon’s orbit, the moon was to pass closest to earth this month.  This occurs every 22 years.  The moon was supposedly 14% bigger and brighter than… what? When?  As with most media news, the science is glossed over completely in favor of sensational claims like 14% brighter, never mind the details.  I can only assume they meant it was 14% bigger and brighter than it was 11 years ago when it was probably farthest from earth.

In any case, it was a fine evening to hike up a nearby hill and take photographs of the full moon rising.  I checked my GPS which has a sun and moon app on it.  It stated the moon would rise at 7:38 my local time.

I hiked to the top of the hill.  At 7:38 nothing was visible.

It turned out there were some clouds in the east which blocked my view of the actual moon rise.  At 7:48, this is what I saw:

There is a slight bluish cast in this photo because it wasn’t fully dark yet.

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