Staring at the Sun

On Sunday I saw my very first almost-total solar eclipse. I think. I mean, I know I saw the eclipse – just not entirely sure it was my first. There was one in 1994, and I remember some talk about it, but I don’t remember watching it. In any case, this was certainly my first memorable solar eclipse!

The solar eclipse as seen from San Francisco.

The solar eclipse as seen from San Francisco.

Pat and I went up to the roof with a bottle of champagne, cameras, and DIY-solar-eclipse-viewing equipment. A couple of our neighbors were up there too, and we had a great time chatting, taking pics, and witnessing the eclipse.

At first, the pinhole projector I made wasn’t working – but I read you could see the eclipse through your fingers. The effect was pretty cool!

Watching the solar eclipse through my fingers. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Watching the solar eclipse through my fingers. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

As the moon passed over the sun, the air got chillier and the light on the skyline took a slightly rosy glow. It looked like a mix of a cloudy day (but no clouds!) and early sunset.

The San Francisco skyline during the solar eclipse.

The San Francisco skyline during the solar eclipse.

And then I figured out that the problem with my pinhole projector was that the pinhole was too small. Maybe the ideal projector works with a hole the size of the pin, but mine needed one about 1/6″ in diameter. While I was adjusting the projector, I got a little crazy. After all, why make a projector that shows 1 sun when you can make one that shows 9 suns?

The solar eclipse viewed through a DIY pinhole projector.

The solar eclipse viewed through a DIY pinhole projector.

Watching the solar eclipse – and playing around with the projector and shadows – was awesome. Now I see why some people chase solar eclipses around the world!

The peak of the solar eclipse in San Francisco.

The peak of the solar eclipse in San Francisco.

I’m thinking about getting eclipse glasses to watch the transit of Venus across the sun in June – an event that won’t occur again in this century!

Did you get to see the eclipse? Will you check out the transit of Venus?

[Photos by me except where otherwise noted.]

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4 thoughts on “Staring at the Sun

  1. cupcaitlin says:

    Awesome photos! I didn’t plan ahead enough to make a pinhole projector, but I was completely fascinated by how it looked like dusk as the moon eclipsed the sun. So cool!

    Like

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