The Starry Night, 126

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10/24/2014. Me and My Baby View the Eclipse. Apologies to Lee Smith for borrowing her title for this post. Amy and I took the RV and the dogs up to the Mount Pisgah campground for the night. I hoped to find a good overlook for yesterday's eclipse. It was a partial eclipse, not particularly deep, but near maximum at sunset. That suggested there might be something well worth photographing. I needed a low western horizon; I wanted a distant ridge line and interesting clouds. Didn't we find just the spot at the Buck Spring Gap overlook! Here's the "money shot" grabbed just a couple of minutes before sunset:



Solar Eclipse
Buck Spring Gap Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway
Mount Pisgah, North Carolina
October 23, 2014
Questar 3.5 / Canon 6D


Note the aircraft to the lower left of the Sun just beginning to underline the eclipse with its contrail. I didn't see it until I was reviewing my photos. If anybody wants to try to determine what flight that is, how far away, etc., here are the circumstances of the photo:

Lat: 35.4151
Long: -82.7485
Alt: 4,980 feet

Time: 18:35:59 EDT on October 23, 2014.
(Note: the file is timestamped 18:41:10, but 1 day later the USNO says the camera time is mis-set, that it's marking files too late by 5m11s. The corrected time is shown.)

Geometric altitude of the center of the Sun (uncorrected for refraction): 1.06 degrees
Azimuth: 254.84 degrees

More photos to come by and by. Also some snaps of our impromptu eclipse viewing party and video of two dogs howling at a fiddle. It's always interesting when we go out observing.



Except where noted, deep-sky photos are made with an SBIG ST2000XM CCD behind a 10-inch Astro-Tech Ritchey-Chretien carried on an Astro-Physics Mach1GTO. The CCD is equipped with Baader LRGB and 7nm H-a filters. The internal guide chip of the CCD most often keeps the OTA pointed in the right direction (I'll let you know when a Meade DSI and a separate OAG or guidescope takes its place). Camera control and guiding are handled by Maxim DL 5.12. The stock focuser on the AT10RC has been augmented with Robofocus 3.0.9 using adapters turned on the lathe downstairs. Maxim performs image calibration, alignment, and stacking; Photoshop CS4 and FocusMagic 3.0.2 take it from there. Gradient Xterminator by Russell Croman and Astronomy Tools by Noel Carboni see their share of work, too. Beginning in May 2013, PixInsight has taken over some of the heavy lifting for transfer function modification and deconvolution.


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                   © 2014, David Cortner