Some early images from the total eclipse across the USA. Commentary below.....


Members of the AC travelled to the United States of America to observe and image the Great Eclipse of 2017.

After numerous projected traffic jam reports it was decided to get close to the observing site to avoid problems on the day. The chosen location was the town of Paducah in Kentucky , the eclipse duration in this area would be about 2 minutes 20 seconds. The day before the eclipse an observing site was evaluated and permission to `setup`next day obtained from the site owners. We set up our equipment an hour or so before first contact. The equipment comprised of a 70 mm William Optics Refractor , Ioptron cube mount, Celestron lightweight tripod, Bader filter, 2" extension tube, 2 " right angle adaptor and a Sony NEX5 camera.

A mostly clear sky and air temperatures in the 90`s suggested a clear view of the eclipse, but, as first contact arrived a small group of clouds arrived just in time to steal the arrival of the moon onto the suns disc. Fingers crossed by the crowd for about 15 minutes and the cloud cleared to reveal a partial eclipse and continuous clear sky. Through the telescope sunspots were seen just right of centre and some more that had emerged from the left of the disc in the last few days. After plenty of partial eclipse images a gradually deacreasing solar disc transformed into a broken thin crescent then the long awaited totality. The surroundings darkened rapidly and a spectacular corona was witnessed by all present who cheered and clapped. An erie grey twilight surrounded us all , rarely seen except at times of eclipse. Surrounding street lights came on and a stream of birds flew into their nightime roosting space - a tall factory chimney! Cameras clicked and mobile phones were all directed to the sky. Most observed the event with the Mk1 eyes leaving the more entusiastic to image the event with a variety of lensed equipment. A spectacular diamond ring marked the end of totality and the brightening sky again prompted rousing applause and cheering. The sunlight had returned and air temperatures went up again, a few last images of the brightening diamond ring and we were into the finale- a gradually increasing solar surface.

A few stalwarts remained as the crowd headed for refreshments and a late lunch. Some time later the event was over , equipment packed away , cameras with their precious memory cards carefully stowed for the journey home. If there was one downside to the whole day it was the 4 hour traffic jam on the freeway heading north to St Louis- a small price to pay for the amazing trans- North American eclipse. See you all again in 2024 for the next big one. More images  available on the AC Activity Web pages.

Special thanks to the `Mellow Mushroom` in Paducah for supporting the natural event with superb refreshment, great food and brilliant live music.