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Ready for the Eclipse

Solar Projection Setup 500 Wide.jpg

I put the 8″ scope together on the driveway to make sure nothing was amiss (and to be sure I could find all the parts) before packing the whole thing off to the parking lot of St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church. Observing the eclipse where I live is impossible, because I’m on the eastern slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, which rises almost 30 degrees above the western horizon. Today’s eclipse will occur while the Sun is setting here in Colorado Springs. In fact, even with a perfect western horizon, the Sun will set before the eclipse is fully past.

The church is almost seven miles east of us, and while there will still be mountains on the horizon, they will obstruct nowhere near as much of the sky as they do from my driveway. It also becomes an opportunity to have parishioners who may be interested come out and see what of the eclipse can be seen from here. The full annular eclipse will be visible from Albuquerque, about 250 miles south of us. We’d considered heading down for it, but there’s just too going on in our lives right now to spare the time.

The projection screen is simple Hobby Lobby foamcore attached to a length of aluminum angle stock with a 1/4-20 threaded hole at its center. I had to crank up my tripod almost to its vertical limit to get it to catch the image of the noonday Sun. The eclipse here doesn’t begin until 6:27 PM, when the Sun will be a great deal lower in the sky. Maximum coverage is about 7:30. The Sun sets here at 8:09.

Of course, all of this assumes that it will be clear later this afternoon. There are a lot of big puffy cumulus clouds up there now, and we had a thuderstorm here yesterday evening. So far so good. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.


  1. I dug out my old Edmund Astroscan and a sheet of loose foamcore this evening and managed to snap a few decent shots – here’s one:

    I had it set up out on the sidewalk in front of my house as this had the clearest view of the sunset. Attracted a lot of attention from neighbors and passing motorists. Choice comment from one neighbor upon seeing the odd shape of the Astroscan: “I thought it was a bong.”

    1. Looking forward to seeing you pictures.

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