Dr. James Pierce's

August 21, 2017
Total Solar Eclipse Page

MSU Astro Logo

Primary Observing Site

Our original destination was Stapleton, Nebraska, but by Sunday, August 20, the cloud forecast for that portion of the state during the eclipse had become rather dismal. As a result, the advance party of the Mankato delegation pressed westward into Wyoming and secured an observing site in a privately owned field in Orin, Wyoming -- which is essentially a truck stop on Interstate 25.

The site gave us unobstructed views of the sky in all directions, and the clear skies promised excellent eclipse viewing. Several other groups joined us in the field for a total of two or three dozen people.

The panoramic view: clockwise from east. (All images on this page by jpierce, unless otherwise noted.)

Although our local observing site was not particularly scenic, one did not have to go far to find some good Wyoming vistas:

by aswanson by aswanson


Our equipment was fairly minimal: a few cameras, a Sunspotter telescope, and a refurbished 6-inch Criterion Dynascope. And numerous pairs of hands.

The Hands:

by aswanson

More Hands:

by j&kswanson

The Sunspotter:

The Criterion Dynascope RV-6:

Sunspotter Eclipse Images

The Sunspotter produced very nice solar images, about 3 inches in diameter. Two groups of sunspots were visible during the eclipse. During totality, no visible images were produced -- but then no one was really looking at the Sunspotter at that time.

[Now replay this video and watch how rapidly the bright white parts of the Sunspotter base (in the lower left corner) darken as totality approaches.]

------------------ TOTALITY! ------------------

Criterion Dynascope RV-6 Eclipse Images

------------------ TOTALITY! ------------------

Fujifilm Finepix S1800 Eclipse Images

This is a fairly simple digital camera with an 18x zoom; the solar filter for it was made from one half of a pair of eclipse glasses. Settings for most of the partial phases were full zoom, autofocus, ISO 3200, f/11, and 1/1000s. All shots were handheld; exposures were kept short to minimize human motion effects. In about half of all attempts, the camera failed to achieve a good focus.

Both sequences were made by combining selected images from the partial phases and/or totality. Exposures for totality were 1/1000, 1/500, 1/320, and 1/160s for the diamond ring.

Other Eclipse Images

by aswanson by aswanson by aswanson by aswanson

Inside the Umbra!

While it did get darker during totality, it was not as dark as night. The horizon was illuminated while the sky overhead was dark. A few stars and planets were visible, but most of us did not spend much time looking at them. There were chickens nearby in the neighboring farmyard, but no one noticed what they did.

by rpierce by rpierce
by j&kswanson
by j&kswanson

The following two panoramas together provide a 360-degree view of the horizon during totality.

by fcastro
by fcastro

Eclipse People (and Eclipse Dogs)

by aswanson by aswanson by j&kswanson by rpierce by aswanson by rpierce by rpierce by j&kswanson by rpierce by rpierce by j&kswanson by j&kswanson by j&kswanson
Back to Dr. James Pierce's home page.
Back to Dr. James Pierce's Physics & Astronomy home page.

Created August 25, 2017; last modified January 10, 2019
Send comments or suggestions to James Pierce - james.pierce@mnsu.edu