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Spectacular Solar Showcase: Viewing the 2023 annular eclipse

The much-anticipated annular eclipse passed through San Antonio, Texas on October 14th, 2023. There were many events being held locally and people came from all over the world to witness it here. I was lucky enough to witness this astronomical event from my hometown. I knew my backyard wouldn't provide the best view, so a local pottery shop Just Pots was kind enough to let me set up in wide-open acreage for an unobstructed view of the celestial show.


A camera setup on wide open acreage with ceramic pots focused on the sun with a partial eclipse.

I picked out a spot out of the main flow of customer traffic to set up my camera, ready to document the eclipse. To my surprise, quite a few customers stopped to take a peek at what I was capturing too! I used a solar filter over my camera lens I had bought on online back for the total eclipse in 2017.


Sunspots AR3460-3466 made an appearance on the sun's surface, adding an interesting element to the unfolding event. These dark spots created a cool contrast against the backdrop of the eclipse, making the experience even more engaging.


An image from the NASA database showing labeled sunspots

As the moon began its journey across the sun, the sunlight dimmed just enough to feel a tad eerie. Viewing the eclipse from this location turned out to be a wise decision. The open space provided an unobstructed view, free from the interference of trees. Surrounded by the down-to-earth atmosphere of the pottery shop and interested customers.


A detail photo of the partial annular solar eclipse with two distinct sunspots

Annular eclipse at approximately 11:10am CST


As the annular eclipse came to peak, my focus shifted to capturing Baily’s Beads. These "beads" are a result of the sun's light filtering through the moon's mountains, craters and valleys along its edge... creating a captivating play of light and shadow. It was a subtle yet beautiful aspect of the eclipse that added to the overall charm of the moment.



The second thing I had to do, was capture a solar selfie! 😉☀️


A selfie with the sun at peak annular totality

Viewing the annular eclipse from San Antonio, Texas, was an adventure from the sunspots, to capturing Baily’s Beads, and sharing it with some locals along the way. As I packed up my camera, I already thought ahead to when the next one will cross over this part of Texas again next in April of 2024! I will have to drive a bit to experience totality but it will be worth it!


A collage of various phases of the annular solar eclipse

Montage of different stages of the eclipse


The fun didn't stop - when I returned home, I realized my Ring security camera caught the most amazing eclipse shadows through the leaves of the trees in my backyard. Just amazing.



A video of the eclipse shadows moving in the wind on my deck in the backyard

Ring camera video footage of the annular eclipse shadows


Did you capture any photos of the 2023 annular eclipse? I would love to see them. Send me a snapshot!


 

Astrophotography FAQs


When did you start observing & photographing the night sky?

It is fair to say my first "love" was the night sky and I have many wonderful family memories of taking night roadtrips outside of the city limits to see the heavens better. I started photographing the sky in 2000 when I bought my first SLR camera.


What equipment do you use to observe & photograph the night sky?

• Canon SX50 HS

• Orion 10x50 Wide-angle binoculars

• DayStar White-Light Universal Lens Solar Filter

• iPhone 12Pro (rare, but it happens!) 😅


What do you suggest for someone wanting to get started in astronomy or astrophotography? Having some basic understanding about celestial objects and the night sky can be super helpful before jumping right in. • For observing the night sky: I suggest reading articles and blogs about current astronomy events. There are many sites which keep calendars of what to expect months and years in advance. Join local astronomy clubs, online groups and forums, and get recommendations for tips and tricks for observing where you live.

• For astrophotography: I suggest learning about camera settings, equipment setup, and post-processing techniques to be successful. There are many videos online with tips and tricks for the best settings. Also beware, equipment can get quite pricy!


 

Disclaimer: The thoughts shared in this blog are solely my own and do not represent the perspectives of my professional relationships or clientele.

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