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One Amazing Eclipse

Well as i'm sure everyone already knows, there was a total solar eclipse that passed though the US on August 21st. I was invited to join Jay Pasachoff and the rest of his team from Williams College. We setup at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. I brought with me plenty of equipment, but not nearly as much as the rest of the expedition. I had an MX+ and a MYT, as well as Portable Piers and everything else to run two mounts. But the expedition as a whole brought more than 3000 lbs of equipment from the east coast. The days leading up to the eclipse was pure insanity, I spent almost 5 days prepping the payloads for each mount, and a few hours setting up the mounts, polar aligning them, and running an Automated Pointing Run. Something should be said about the T-Point run on the MX+. I had a pointing RMS of 7.3 arcsec on the portable pier!!!!!


However, as we were deciding which telescopes and detectors would go on each mount we realized a third mount would be needed. Luckily enough in and amongst all the equipment was a third mount, it was even a paramount. To be perfectly honest I did not recognize it at first, but upon closer inspection it was a paramount GT-1100s, with a MKS5000 upgrade. That solved our mount problem. Our final setup looked like this.

So from left to right here is all the equipment we were filming the eclipse with. The left mount is a MX+ with a Takahashi FSQ-106 with a Red Epic 5K camera on it, as well as 3 Teleview 76s, one with a Red Epic 5K, one with a grating and a spectrograph, and the other with a backup video camera. The middle mount is the MYT with three teleview 76's, one with a ZWO 1600 Mono, and the other two with Nikon D810's. Finally the right mount is the GT-1100s with one heck of a spectrograph on it. The spectrograph was used to scan the disk and the corona during totality to create a hyper spectral image. (An image that is also a spectra.

Something ought to be said about the Red Epic cameras as well. They are cinema-grade cameras used in Hollywood to shoot blockbuster movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy, The Martian, and The Hobbit. To what purpose was all of this put? Manny is the answer. Some of it was serious research. But some of it was public outreach. The Red Epics were used on the PBS NOVA episode, Eclipse Over America. And in the episode, the sections about Jay in Oregon were all filmed right around me. And a careful observer will see the Paramounts in the background.

In the end everything went splendidly, we got all the data Jay wanted, and the footage NOVA wanted, and a few pretty pictures for us.


Posted 08-30-2017 3:52 PM by Rose Smith
Filed under: , , ,


Rodolphe wrote re: One Amazing Eclipse
on 09-03-2017 2:15 PM


I was in Corvallis OR and my pictures of the eclipse are nowhere as good as yours :)

I'm looking forward to watching the NOVA episode.



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