Annular Solar Eclipse

May 20, 2012

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth and blocks the Sun. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun, so that it forms a bright ring (or annulus) around the Moon.

May 20, 2012, was the first time in 18 years that an annular eclipse was visible in North America. We had the best seats in the house, atop a second-story deck at our friends' home in the highlands east of Albuquerque, directly in the path of the eclipse.

Dennis recorded the event on both video and still cameras, but faced several challenges. To keep the images centered, the cameras were mounted on a telescope that tracked the path of the sun. Filters in front of the lenses protected the cameras from the exceptional brilliance of the sun. A digital SLR camera took photos every two seconds during the height of the eclipse. These images were registered and assembled into the video, below.

El Malpais and El Morro

May 21-22, 2012

We took the scenic route back to Tucson, stopping to hike the El Calderon area of El Malpais National Monument, and camping very far from anywhere on the edge of a lava field. The next morning, we squeezed in another spectacular hike along the mesa top at El Morro, followed by a great lunch at The Ancient Way Cafe.

Best of all was observing the event with our good buddies Kit, Ann H., Tom and Ann C.