2023 ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPEDITION RESULTS
by Paul D. Maley, NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society
This is a web page with some of the highlights of the 52nd Ring of Fire Expeditions trip to a solar eclipse, and the 83rd solar eclipse that I have observed. Its purpose was to provide a visual and photographic outreach experience for new observers and those interested in astronomy. This type ‘annular solar eclipse’ where the Moon is somewhat farther away from the Earth preventing the Sun from being completely covered will occur again in October 2024 on Easter Island when our 54th organized trip will take off. See www.eclipsetours.com for future expedition plans. One does not need a technical background to experience an eclipse and especially if you want to observe phenomena associated with it such as the effect on plants. See the section called WHAT WE COULD NOT SEE below for information on that.
Crescent Sun images appear all over a wall as projected by a Palo Verde tree in Carefree, Arizona onto a wall and onto a piece of white poster board. Lynn Palmer photo.
THE SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPERIENCE
Our eclipse experience from Goulding’s Lodge, Oljato-Monument Valley featured foreground material you would find hard to replicate anywhere at an eclipse. Paul Maley photo.
Maximum of the annular solar eclipse. Byron Braswell photo. Nikon D850 DSLR with Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 lens with Nikon f1.4 multiplier resulting in 700mm f6.3; ISO200; 1/400sec. tripod mounted.
A composite sequence by Richard Nugent showing the progression of the annular eclipse from left to right. Olympus DSLR,ISO 1600, 300 mm focal length’ Exposure: 1/4000 sec @ f5.6 thru f11 with a Baader solar filter.
A challenge to everyone was the closure of all Navajo businesses during the eclipse as well as the complete closure of Monument Valley. Paul Maley photo.
Another wonderful visual experience as the Moon passed between the Earth and Sun on August 14, 2023 from our desert site in Goulding, Utah USA. This was an unusual bus adventure starting from and returning to Phoenix, Arizona from October 11-17, 2023. Our team was 24 persons with a tour director and driver.
The Ring of Fire Expeditions team at our observation site with Monument Valley in the background: from left to right, Paul Maley, Byron Braswell, Richard Nugent, John Pankiewicz, Dennis Kozel, Stacy Kozel, Jim Kozel, Emilie Chane, Bill Becker, Greg Shanos, France Lemieux, Mike Schulman, Terri Polit, Sandra Schulman, Dick Creter, Mary Camp, Hannah Salvatore, Mary Sullivan, Gary Weiler, Nina Kieffer; Kneeling: Sharon Braswell, Denise Bogle; Lying: Audrey Konow.
Long range forecast on the Weather Channel projected some cloud along the entire eclipse track, but not much even early on.
The eclipse site at Goulding’s Airport as seen from Goulding’s Lodge looking east. Paul Maley photo.
Our bus traveled for several miles behind an ‘eclipse camper vehicle’. Paul Maley photo.
3 Photos by Greg Shanos. SONY FDR-AX100 4K camcorder with a Sony 1.5x teleconverter. Tripod mounted on a Star Adventurer motorized equatorial tracker with a Thousand Oaks solar filter. Photo stills (8MP) from the video were taken to make this collage of second and third contact.
3 photos from Gary Weiler.
France Lemieux who used a 400 mm Canon telephoto lens with a 2x extender (800mm) on a Star Adventurer tracking mount and using a Canon 90D DLSR.
F. Lemieux image of the Sun after the eclipse was over.
Central annularity by F. Lemieux.
The Kozel group: Stacy, Dennis, John Pankiewicz and Jim. Craig Cherry photo.
Byron and Sharon Braswell.
Just after 1st contact. Byron Braswell image. Notice the sunspots.
Just before 2nd contact. Byron Braswell photo.
Richard Nugent’s eclipse site. Emilie Chane photo.
Looking south toward the end of the runway where 6 planes landed during the eclipse. Others were set up across the road almost under the mountain’s shadow. Paul Maley photo.
The above photo of Mary Sullivan shows that to get the best view of an annular eclipse you do not need an expensive camera; all you need is a lawn chair and a good piece of Welders glass as well as drinks and snacks and you are good to go. Audrey Konow photo.
Instead of setting up along the side of the airport runway we hoped to set up on the east side of the runway which was slightly higher elevation and clear of incoming planes. However, during the eclipse a wedding was in progress. Paul Maley photo.
Baily’s Beads captured in the seconds after 2nd contact. Paul Maley photo with Nikon Coolpix P950 camera.
This is not a view of the inside of a metal ring. Instead it is the after effect of a wind gust with my camera during annularity. Paul Maley photo with Nikon Coolpix P950.
When you want to make crescent Sun images interlace your fingers and project. Here Richard Nugent does just that. Paul Maley photo.
Temperature graphic from Greg Shanos showing a 7 degree F drop after totality.
Byron Braswell projects solar crescents using holes punched into paper.
Emilie observing the eclipse.
Greg recording the eclipse. Denise Bogle photo.
The best way to focus a camera during an annular eclipse or partial solar eclipse is to use a hood to block ambient light. This is France Lemieux focusing her scope. Denise Bogle photo.
Denise Bogle observing the eclipse. Emilie Chane photo.
Eclipse passes over the Earth. Courtesy NASA DSCOVR spacecraft.
Paul Maley watching for the next photo opportunity during the eclipse. Richard Nugent photo.
During the eclipse an aircraft came in for a landing and deliberately revved up his two engines blowing dust and gravel toward the group. I have filed a complaint with the FAA with the help of Goulding’s airport management. Terri Pollit photo.
Forrest Gump Hill view. Byron Braswell photo.
Cabin at Goulding’s Lodge where actor John Wayne stayed during the filming of one of his western movies. Paul Maley photo.
Mexican Hat rock formation. Byron Braswell photo.
Our neighbor galaxy as photographed by Gary Weiler. It was taken with the Vaonis Vespera, 200mm f5, with about 35-minutes of integration.
Spy satellites fly traveling in tandem over Sedona on the evening of October 18. NOSS 3-4A and 3-4C were faintly visible in the dark sky but easily captured on this 15 second time exposure. Paul Maley photo.
One of numerous images shot by F. Lemieux with a Rokinon 14mm, f/4, ISO8000, 30 seconds from the Grand Canyon.
Sun dog as seen over the Cameron Trading Post. Paul Maley photo.
A sliver of a Moon as photographed by Richard Nugent about 27 hours before the eclipse from Cameron, Arizona.
The famous ‘Mittens’ as photographed by Byron Braswell.
Another view. Greg Shanos photo.
The views never seem to end.
Paramount feature. Stacy Kozel photo.
Panorama from Emilie Chane of the Crater.
Wildfire south of Meteor Crater created a lot of smoke. Fortunately none of this impacted our trip. Paul Maley photo.
Meteorite exhibited at Meteor Crater.
PINK JEEP TOUR
What was seen. Stacy Kozel photo.
More views from the jeep tour. Stacy Kozel photo.
Inside a pink jeep. Richard Nugent photo.
The team toured the legendary observatory where the planet Pluto was discovered.
Clark Telescope Dome at Lowell. Emilie Chane photo.
24-inch Clark Refractor. Emilie Chane photo.
13-inch Lawrence Lowell Pluto discovery telescope. Byron Braswell photo.
Request to name the 9th planet Pluto. Richard Nugent photo.
Large refractor at Lowell. Denise Bogle photo.
One of hundreds of samples of petrified material found while exploring the ‘forest’. Paul Maley photo.
In the early morning sunlight these rocks possess incredible color. Paul Maley photo.
Grand Canyon, afternoon arrival photo.
Grand Canyon morning light.
Catching more rays.
Bird life (1). Audrey Konow photo.
Bird life (2). Audrey Konow photo.
Bird life (3). Audrey Konow photo.
Bird life (4). Audrey Konow photo.
MOENAVE DINOSAUR TRACKS
One of the more obvious tracks. Emilie Chane photo.
There was a good guide and then there was a not so good guide. This one was the latter. Emilie Chane photo.
Dramatic backdrop of the setting Sun during the Navajo cookout. Emilie Chane photo.
A Navajo taco, something you don’t see except on the Navajo reservation. Emilie Chane photo.
Navajo fry bread. Emilie Chane photo.
Breakfast at the Grand Canyon. Emilie Chane photo.
Hot chocolate and OJ at the Harvey House Cafe, Grand Canyon. Paul Maley photo.
Navajo cookout. Emilie Chane photo.
Downtown Winslow buildings.
Flowers near our lunch stop.
More fall foliage at the lunch stop.
WHAT WE COULD NOT SEE DURING THE ECLIPSE
During any solar eclipse it is possible to observe the phenomenon of sunlight passing between leaves on trees, bushes and shrubs. This requires just your eyes and a smart phone to get an idea of which plants are cooperative during the eclipse and which ones are not. Given our location in Utah we could not see any effects on fauna. However, at our home in Carefree, Arizona my wife (Lynn Palmer, PhD, master gardener and master naturalist) has planted more than a hundred different varieties of native plants. She provides images of the amazing displays as witnessed from our backyard location on the west side of Black Mountain. Most people pay no or little attention to this phenomenon but it can really explode all around you if you are in the right place. The photos below are a small sampling of the dozens taken during the annular solar eclipse.
Crescents produced by a mesquite tree cover the driveway. Lynn Palmer photo.
Hundreds of crescents displayed against a wall and the ground by a single Palo Verde tree. Lynn Palmer photo.
Sun crescents from Bird of Paradise. Lynn Palmer photo.
Most surprising of all were crescents produced by Prickly Pear Cactus. Lynn Palmer photo.
Crescents from Brittle Bush after its recent blooming phase. Lynn Palmer photo.
Crescents produced by a climbing crossvine projected onto a white poster board background. Lynn Palmer photo.
In many cases crescents can be quite small and indistinct and you have to zoom in to see them.
Crescents (above left) produced by Euphorbia Roylana plan (above right)
Elk wandering in front of our bus. Paul Maley photo.
Smoke at sunset looking east from our hotel in Sedona. Emilie Chane photo.
Saguaro cacti in New River on the way from Phoenix to Flagstaff. Paul Maley photo.
It was easy to charge my Iphone during the entire bus trip. Paul Maley photo.
Waymo driverless vehicles kept pulling in and dropping off passengers behind our bus at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. Paul Maley photo.
Sunset at Kayenta
Squirrel at Sunset Crater. Paul Maley photo.
A lone tree on the slopes of Sunset Crater. Richard Nugent photo.
Fall colors at sunset in Sedona. Emilie Chane photo.