Total Solar Eclipse in Teton Valley

I’m usually not one to chase after astronomy events, but will definitely put in the effort when it happens in our own backyard!

Equipment

I purchased a couple solar filters from Thousand Oaks Optical.  At the time, they had a pretty archaic website and only took phone orders.  It seems that the boost in sales this year allowed them an upgrade to an online shopping cart, finally. 🙂

Filters were used for each my 150-600mm lens and spotting scope.

Location

Although I could just as easily watch it from my apartment in Victor, there were some concerns about environmental conditions, like wildfire smoke. After some consulting, Ryan Peak (or Relay Ridge) seemed to be a good location that was high enough to get above the hazy conditions that sometimes settle into the valleys.

A few weeks before the eclipse, I took a drove to the top of the ridge during a hazy day, and found a scene like this.

This is fine. The sky is blue where the sun is with the smoky haze kept lower. Location? Check.

Weather

Of course we were watching the forecast 1+ weeks ahead of the event. As we got closer, it looked like a small disturbance was going to blow through Sunday evening with a clearing Monday morning. Sunday night, the clouds were at a concerning level.

That night the wind howled. We were not on the tippy top of the ridge; we were slightly down on the east side to be shielded from the west winds that were blowing. It helped, but still noisy. “As long as it blows the clouds out,” I thought, which it did.

The Eclipse

There are a lot of things to look for as the partial eclipse progresses. One of my favorites is looking at the shadows and how any small hole will show a projection of the sun (or what’s visible).

And then totality happens.

I won’t even try to explain the experience, but I can tell you that I was able to keep my composure long enough to get a good shot of the corona and a wide-angle view, including the Teton range.

Totality lasts for 2:18 here, but it felt like only a few seconds. I had an app running that would call out key times. I hear “glasses on”, and before I could comprehend that it’s about to be over, the sun peeks back out.

Additional Media

This video is from a camera facing behind us in an attempt to capture the sweeping shadow.  Didn’t really see one…looks more like a fast-motion sunset.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *