Thursday, February 21, 2008

The end of the eclipse

I wanted to take a series of photos like this for the entire eclipse, but two things stood in my way. The first was crappy seeing. If you look at the photos in the last post, they're not fuzzy because the scope was out of focus or the camera wasn't doing it's job. The atmosphere was just yucky. The Central Valley of California has about the worst air pollution of any non-metro area in the US, and the rising moon was swimming up through a roiling stew of hot air and groady particulates. By the time the moon was coming out of totality, it was high enough in the sky to be out of the real murk, but there was still quite a bit of turbulence.

The other limitation is the fact that I was just holding the camera up to the eyepiece. I could have gotten out the tripod and mounted the camera at the eyepiece, but I was lazy. As the moon got dimmer, exposure times got longer and pictures got fuzzier. I threw away literally hundreds. Still, I got a few keepers and I had a good time, and that's about all you can ask of a transient celestial event.

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