The experience of the eclipse remains vivid, and drives me to attempt to revisit the experience, using the images that I took in Corvallis. Here are several attempts to capture the process of the eclipse, from first contact, through totality, to final contact.
The first shows images taken at ten-minute intervals, spaced equally from left (first contact) to right (fourth contact). The result strikes me as quite pleasing; yet, though the individual images are faithful renderings of what I saw, the progress of the eclipse didn't follow this type of path.
This led me to my next attempt, to use the same images, but to have them track through the sky in positions that matched the actual progression of the sun's position in the sky, with the sun images at the correct scale. The sun travels about 2.5 degrees in ten minutes, which is about five sun diameters, and during the total duration of the eclipse the sun travelled over 40 degrees. The resulting image, though an accurate representation of the sun as it moved through the sky, strikes the viewer (me!) as unsatisfactory because the sun is so darn small! Our brains are quite insistent that the sun is larger in the sky than it really is! This mental bias persists so strongly that in planetariums (such as at the Fairbanks Museum, in St. Johnsbury), the sun is usually projected larger than life-size so that it seems more life-like! (The popular planetarium software Stellarium has this option.)
Thus, in order to satisfy the yearnings of my brain, I increased the size of the sun by a factor of three, following the same path in the sky, to yield the final image. Though not scientifically accurate, it feels better. Go figure.
Entries written by NSO Docents and Educators
Operators of the NSO and teachers in local high school and middle schools.