Eclipse Chaser's Journal, Part 6. The Iffy One:
Total Solar Eclipse of 8 April, 2024.
Journal and Images of the (Prevented) Expedition.

(A.K.A. The Eclipse Expedition that was PREVENTED by the Unreliability of Frontier Communications.)

(Plus Photos of Solar Transits of Mercury and Venus from 2006, 2012, and 2019.)

Jeffrey R. Charles

© Copyright 2018, 2020, 2023, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
URL: http://www.eclipsechaser.com/eclink/image/total24.htm

LEFT: Maximum Eclipse from Los Angeles, CA. 8 April, 2024 (Visible Wavelengths).
RIGHT: Prominences of 8 April, 2024, imaged in Hydrogen Alpha through Coronado PST.
(Triangular prominence near bottom was visible naked eye to many in the path of totality.)
LEFT: Partial Solar Eclipse from Los Angeles. Maximum eclipse was only about 50 percent of the solar diameter, and far less in area. My trip to the path of totality was prevented by an extended outage of both Frontier phone and Internet service, at the critical time when I was trying to arrange a group trip. (I was unable to make the long drive by myself.)
RIGHT: Solar prominences of 8 April, 2024, imaged with Coronado PST 40mm aperture Hydrogen-Alpha telescope immediately after the end of the partial eclipse. The large triangular prominence was close to where the "diamond ring" effect occurred at third contact (the end of totality) for people near the center of the path of totality.
Comment: These images are oriented more or less according to celestial north, rather than the apparent orientation of the sun from Los Angeles. Why the moon appeared to move from southwest to northeast (in celestial coordinates), and not purely west to east, is covered in the "Partial Solar Eclipse Images" chapter, linked in the Table of Contents below.
Copyright 2018, 2020, 2023. 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
Use of material herein subject to conditions in Versacorp Legal Information Page (www.versacorp.com/vlink/legal/legal.htm).
This web page is optimized for viewing on monitors as small as 800x600, and is "retro browser friendly" (HTML 2, for Netscape 2 or newer), to make it accessible to people throughout the world who may only have older computers.

Images (and Journal) of My (Prevented) 8 April, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Expedition.
(Plus Photos of Solar Transits of Mercury and Venus from 2006, 2012, and 2019)

Contents:

About THIS Version of J. Charles' 2024 Eclipse Images and Text Work(s): (Ver. 240409)
This material includes work(s) that may later be published in separate (shorter) works on media or online, etc.
* Most if not all of the introduction text (plus some other text) may later be moved to a separate (not yet started) "Eclipse Chaser's Journal" chapter or web page, as was text describing 4 of my other total solar eclipse expeditions.

Eclipse Chaser's Journal, Part 6 (with Photos):
The Iffy One: Total Solar Eclipse of 8 April, 2024

Introduction: Overcoming Three Years of Lost Time, Only to be Thwarted (by Frontier)

Shortly after the 2017 total solar eclipse, I began developing a set of eclipse instrumentation that incorporated lessons learned from the 2017 eclipse. I started early because I did not want to be in a position where some last minute events complicated or prevented a 2024 eclipse expedition.

Because I was (and am) disabled, I had to work slowly. Often, I only had few hours of stamina per week left over after my activities of daily living (ADL's) were out of the way. I also had to budget spending more than I had before, because I was entering "fixed income" territory as I aged. Even with these limitations, the 2024 eclipse setup was on track to be finished by mid to late 2021.

Thrust Into Being Power of Attorney (POA) for an Incapacitated Friend and Veteran:

However, in December 2020, an older friend (and Navy Veteran) became incapacitated. I was his designated Power of Attorney (POA), and seeing to his affairs became almost all I could handle for the next three years. This was mostly because I was disabled myself, and many of the parties involved were contentious. I also had never been in a situation where I had to manage everything for another person, so there was quite a learning curve.

My friend had assigned me as his POA because he had no surviving family. He had also said he did not want anyone else (such as any of his other friends, who I thought he knew better than me) to do this for him. Before he became incapacitated, but after the "mostly peaceful" 2020 "Summer of Love" riots in Los Angeles, I looked into moving out of state. (I had twice narrowly escaped being attacked on the way home from work during the 1992 riots, and after more riots in 2020, I was DONE with Los Angeles!) In the fall of 2020, I had asked him if there was anyone else I could hand off being POA to, but he said that he did not trust anyone else to be POA for him.

Even though the matter of being POA for a friend is not related to eclipses (beyond it preventing eclipse preparations), certain aspects are covered below. I had not expected to cover this weighty subject in an eclipse journal, but it became relevant after it was not possible (by the slimmest of margins) to get to the path of totality in 2024.

More significantly, the POA situation is covered because it is more important than eclipses, and because it was eye opening to see the degree of opposition to my elderly friend - and thus, his need for advocacy. Many recurring life and death situations were encountered, including having to advocate for him against an HMO "Death Panel". Some don't believe that "death panels" even exist, so my actual encounters with a real death panel may be eye opening for many readers.

The upshot of this was that my time was not my own for the three years that followed December 2020, and it was extremely high stress in the last year. Among numerous other things (most of which were more important than eclipses), this delayed preparations for the 2024 eclipse by the same amount of time. But with much effort (given my condition), this time was made up in early 2024. It was a wild ride, so buckle up for an unanticipated adventure that may make even total solar eclipses seem boring by comparison.

Then, the 2024 Eclipse Expedition was Prevented by a LONG Internet AND Phone Outage:

With a great deal of effort in early 2024, it was possible to get back on track for getting to the 8 April 2024 total solar eclipse with the equipment that would enable my goals for imaging and experiments. By mid March, it appeared that the equipment would ready in time, and I was working on a land based expedition to Texas.

However (spoiler alert), on the night of 18 March 2024 (only 3 weeks before the eclipse), a LONG outage of both Phone AND Internet by Frontier Communications (lasting well over a week) began. This prevented arranging group transportation by road. (I was then unable to drive any distance due to still being exhausted from managing the affairs of, and advocating for, my incapacitated friend; and my own chronic disability prevented negotiating an airport with so much equipment.)

Therefore, after all of the eclipse preparation over a number of years, it was not possible to get to the path of totality in 2024. Everything else was ready. The eclipse equipment had all been acquired, built, tweaked, tested, and packed. Practice runs had been successfully performed, and I had reservations at a Texas motel, plus arrangements for a good observing site (with a low horizon for imaging the boundary of the lunar umbra) that was within "walker distance" of the motel room.

The ONLY thing missing was a way to get there. And Frontier's long outage prevented connecting with people who WOULD CERTAINLY have been able to drive me there:

To get time off work in time for the eclipse, the driver, who also wanted to go to the eclipse with his mother, would have had to give his employer more notice than what was possible after the long Frontier outage. They did not want to travel that far alone, but would have made the trip with me. The TracFone I had for the trip had an unfamiliar number to them. Inability to reach each other during the LONG Frontier outage was the ONLY reason the eclipse trip to Texas did not happen.

Nonetheless, this web page includes photos and descriptions the full set of eclipse instrumentation that was comprised of 16 cameras and several lenses and instruments, including two Entaniya 250 degree HAL fisheye lenses, a multi channel camera controller, an array of light meters (so the range of each meter could be set ahead of time), a meter scale illuminator, and a thermometer, etc.

Since 2024 Eclipse Instrumentation was Built, this Web Page Includes Photos/Descriptions.

All of the equipment had been designed, procured, built, and otherwise assembled to make the 2024 eclipse setup a reality. Because all of the work on the total eclipse setup had been done anyway (with the full expectation I would be able to get to the path of totality), the "Eclipse Instrumentation" chapter in this web page includes photos of the full setup, with descriptions.

Photos of Solar Transits of Mercury and Venus (from 2006, 2012, 2019) are Also Included.

Since it was not possible to get to the path of totality in 2024, this web page includes photos of recent and previous astronomical events that should help make it more interesting. These include the solar transits of Mercury in 2006 and 2019, the transit of Venus in 2012, and Hydrogen-Alpha photos of some very large prominences that were observed near the time of increased solar activity in May, 2024.

Extremely Large (300-500,000 km Wide) Prominences of May 2024 are Pictured as Well.

The imaged prominences of May 2024 were many times larger than those visible during the 2024 eclipse. On 9 May, the largest prominence was over 300,000 km (close to 1/4 of a solar diameter) wide, and the largest prominence of 10 May was a loop that spanned nearly 500,000 km, or over a third of the sun's diameter! Scale renderings of the earth and moon are added to show the relative size.

Meanwhile, back to the more important background story, in which the final nine months were a roller coaster ride of recurring HMO-imposed circumstances, where life and death literally hung in the balance on several occasions.


Background: A Myriad of New Things to Do as My Friend's POA, Starting in Late 2020:

In late 2020, last time I had spoken by phone with my elderly friend was on about 11 December. Almost all contact with him was by phone because he lived nearly 70 miles away. On 18 December, I had restored and sold one of his telescopes for him, and was going to inform him of this on my next call. He had told me that I could have the telescope, but I knew his saying that was his dementia talking. So I sold it for him, which is what had been discussed previously.

When I called him on about 21 December, 2020, I could not reach him. After some time being unable to reach him, I asked for a welfare check on him, but I did not hear back. I also continued to call his phone number, but to no avail. A few days later, I called again for a welfare check, but also did not hear back right away. However, when I called yet again on the day after Christmas, someone at the Fire Department remembered that my friend had been taken to a hospital. Further checking showed that this had happened on 16 December. It took a while to find out which hospital they had taken him to, then to find out where he was in that hospital.

He was in an HMO hospital that was in the general area (distant from me) around where he lived. By then, he was stable and in the hospital overflow area, but he could not be seen in person due to COVID precautions. They had begun to set up a conservatorship for him, but dropped that when they learned I was his POA.

The Social Worker there indicated that he was incapacitated, and that the hospital would only release him to a 24 hour care situation. She said his incapacity was almost certainly permanent. This meant that he could not go back to living in his condo.

I briefly spoke with him on the phone, and he sounded fine. However, he said he thought he was in a restaurant, rather than a hospital. They had fed him shortly before the call. As had been the case on other calls in recent months, he did not remember where I lived, and he seemed to forget my related answer within a few minutes.

As was the case for many elderly people in 2020, the California COVID lockdowns played a significant role in his becoming incapacitated. He had depended on restaurants for getting proper meals, and for much of his social life. When these closed during the 2020 lockdowns, he neither ate properly or had a normal social life.

Later investigation showed that he had declined somewhat rapidly in certain ways, starting in the spring of 2020. This had progressed throughout the summer, to a point where he was not refilling his prescriptions by late August. In fact, when it was possible (two months after his incapacity) to go to his condo, I saw that the August 2020 page was still open on the calendar in his dining area.

Starting Out with a Bad Case of COVID-19:

My friend's December 2020 incapacity began at a very bad time, because I had been exposed to COVID at the grocery store on 15 December, and I began to develop mild symptoms by the 19th. These symptoms got worse, and I was ultimately quite ill from COVID for almost a month.

I knew where I was exposed because I retained receipts and other information that I could use to retroactively contact trace myself. And I contacted the one person I had seen (obviously while masked and distanced) between when I was exposed and when I developed symptoms.

Earlier in the year, I had kept a log of where I went in real time, and when possible, the few times I left home were farther apart than the stated incubation period for COVID. This way, if I developed symptoms, I'd know that exposure could only have happened on the most recent trip. However, I stopped doing all of that after it became known that Governor Newsom and others had gathered indoors, with no masks or social distancing, at the French Laundry restaurant on 6 November.

But it wasn't just because the Governor did that. Also there were two high ranking members (including the CEO) of the California Medical Association. So the very people who were telling everyone not to travel or gather - had traveled to gather at a posh restaurant! They obviously did not see the virus as a serious health risk, and it was just being used to control the population.

For me, COVID was like having a bad case of the flu - four times in a row. After several days, I'd think it was getting better, but then wham! It took me down again the next day, but with different symptoms. In order to comply with COVID guidelines of the day (which were based on a certain time after one's last NEW symptom), I had to self-quarantine for what ended up being 32 days.

I was not tested during the weeks I had symptoms. I was too sick to even get dressed on most days, so driving somewhere to get tested was out of the question. But there is no doubt that it was COVID because of how bad it was, and because the symptoms, including losing taste and smell (to the extent that I could not even taste or smell horseradish), were consistent with the disease. Taste and smell did not come back for months (some aspects took over a year), and even when these did come back, some things did not seem to taste or smell the way they used to.

Ironically, the Los Angeles "COVID Curfew" contributed to my exposure to COVID. Because I had comorbidities, I had been careful (maybe too careful) throughout 2020, only leaving home for necessities such as groceries, and wearing a mask and gloves when in public. (This was not out of fear. Instead, it was out of respecting the virus in the same way one would respect a table saw: Live life, but take appropriate precautions, based on what is "known" at the time.)

Prior to 2020, I almost always went to the grocery store at night, when it was less crowded. But during the 2020 L.A. Covid Curfew, stores were not open at night. Thus, the curfew caused more people to be at the grocery store during the limited hours before the curfew, making it more crowded than it was before COVID! (How's that for a counterproductive government decision! Local COVID "rules" effectively turned the local grocery store into a virus distribution center!)

It was also more crowded than usual at the store because shortages in 2020 prevented buying very many items at once, so everyone had to go to the store more often than they did before.

Beginning to Manage My Friend's Affairs to the Extent Possible During Self-Quarantine:

Nonetheless: Even though I had COVID, many things still had to be done for my friend. Almost everything had to be initiated by phone or Fax, due to my quarantine situation.

What needed done included providing documents and information necessary to be recognized as his POA by multiple institutions, utilities, etc., and to get POA access to his funds at his bank so I could pay his bills, etc. The latter was extremely important, because the hospital said it would not discharge him until his 24-hour care could be paid for entirely from his own funds. He only had significant funds at one bank.

In addition to this, I had to determine what type of 24 hour care was a good fit for him, then find a care facility for him. A board and care home (which has very few residents in comparison to a nursing home) seemed like the best option for him. Even with the assistance of a Placement Coordinator, finding a suitable place for him took days of work (my days are short owing to my own disability).

Fortunately, when the right 24-hour care home was found, it was almost a perfect fit for him. He liked to walk outdoors, and very few board and care homes had space to accommodate this, but this one did. There were also other features that made that home the best one for him. The selected home was not too far from where he used to live (but it was over 60 miles from me), so that his local friends could visit him there - whenever the COVID rules let up enough that they could.

There was also the matter of looking into his VA benefits, but I was told that he did not qualify for assistance in housing or care, because his time in the Navy had not been during either the Korean or Vietnam wars. Then there were also the matters of his bills, his reverse mortgage, his previously scheduled medical appointments, informing his other friends, and many other things.

What follows describes only a fraction of the major challenges associated with being his POA, MPOA, and Successor Trustee, etc. Challenges that would not have existed if numerous parties had not been contentious. I got the impression that some of these parties may have thought that elderly people should not have any rights. (They sure acted like they felt that way.)


Uncooperative Parties: (Bank won't honor his documents, HMO later wants to end him.)

Being POA for him was severely complicated by his bank (Bank of America), reverse mortgage company, credit card company (Synchrony), wireless phone company, and HMO, all being uncooperative on a long term basis.

Difficulties with his credit card company and phone company were initiated by his bank's refusal to timely honor his POA documents, and this was the direct cause of many of his bills becoming delinquent before his funds at his bank could be accessed to pay his bills.

Synchrony was so hard to deal with on his behalf that I also canceled my own Synchrony card. (I would not want my POA to have to deal with them if I later became incapacitated myself.) With them, I was always connected to people in Asia, and they contradicted themselves, did not accept payments for months, and would not connect me to anyone in the USA. There also seemed to be two Asian call centers. If I was connected to one, some there would claim that the other one was fraudulent, and that I should not fax any documents there, but should instead use a fax number the second person gave me. Then the first call center would say the same about the second one and specify a different fax number, etc.

His wireless phone company was a problem because calls to them were also always routed to Asia, and people there would not solve the problem or connect me to anyone in the USA who could. The main issue was that, once his bank belatedly allowed access to one of his accounts, I wanted to cancel his service and pay his (then past due) bill - but only up to the date that they stopped providing service. However, their people in Asia would not allow that. If the bill was paid, they were going to retroactively restore service, then ALSO bill him for all of the time after his service had been cut off. This was unacceptable, so after more than half a dozen time consuming attempts to solve the problem over as many different weeks, I filed a complaint with the PUC.

In the meantime, the only way I could keep the wireless phone company from retroactively charging him for the months he had no service was not to pay his phone bill! A while after the complaint was filed, a Vice President of the wireless company called and quickly solved the problem. (It appears that many problems are needlessly prolonged [and have to be escalated to management via complaints] when companies use foreign services that refuse to connect customers to people in the USA who will even try to solve problems. This was also an aspect of why Frontier's dual phone and Internet outage of 2024 lasted so long that it prevented getting to the path of totality, as will be covered later.)

My friend's neighbor had paid some of his late 2020 and early 2021 bills before I was able to access his bank funds or come to his condo (the latter because of my quarantine and lingering weakness from Long COVID). However, it was not practical for either of us to continue paying his bills (with our own funds) after long delays by his bank dragged on for weeks, then months. (Why anyone would use the bank he used is beyond me. They caused a lot of stress and hardship.)


A Bank that Back Dates Notarized Documents, even when a Customer Challenges It:

His bank was the first big problem, because the hospital would not discharge him until I could arrange to pay for his mandated 24-hour care with HIS funds. His bank was made fully aware of this from the beginning. But his bank held up access to even one of his accounts by TWO MONTHS. They did this by refusing to honor his POA documents (which had been drafted by his attorney), even after many contacts with them by phone and in person. I filed complaints against his bank during this delay, including with the CFPB.

However, when the bank did belatedly, but only partially, honor his POA documents (for only ONE of his accounts) they BACK DATED the NOTARIZED documents that were associated with the signature card (this can be proven), including back dating the notary log book. (They even wrote in a false date for my signature.) And then they represented the BACK DATED date as being the actual date to the CFPB, to dispose of my complaint against them.

Solely because of his bank, he was not discharged to 24 hour care from hospital overflow until the end of March, 2021. He had been in the hospital for about 100 days, with the last 60 days of this being solely because of his bank!

Those actions by his bank complicated his other affairs, and led to two month delays in his cancer surgeries, and that appears to have played a role in his ultimate demise, two and a half years later. During the bank's two month delay, the bank had repeatedly been made aware of his urgent situation, but they didn't care. (So, far from being useful, his bank may have irreparably harmed him. They certainly harmed me in terms of health, but I won't go into that here.)

Also, because the bank did not allow POA access to his savings even by the summer (and even though they had told the CFPB that they would timely allow access), his condo had to be sold for him FOUR MONTHS sooner than would have otherwise been necessary, in order to pay his bills. This needlessly rushed the process. (His condo had to eventually be sold because he'd long had a reverse mortgage, and he could not live there while getting 24-hour care. But the sale date required by this was a year after he ceased to live there for medical reasons; or at least four months later.)

In their 2021 response to the CFPB, the bank had said that they would timely cooperate on providing access to the other account. But as of when this was written, after three years and over 20 to 30 contacts with the bank, they never did honor his POA documents for his other account.

When this was written in 2024, it was obvious that official channels and conventional complaints were not going to get his bank to cooperate. And numerous contacts with the bank (both in person and by phone) had not helped either. So immortalizing what the bank did (to both of us thus far) on this web page was and is a last resort.

There are no plans to make this record disappear if the bank later cooperates. I lost numerous hours to this bank, and as will be seen below, repercussions of the bank's initial two month delay may have caused irreparable harm to my friend. Other vulnerable people who could be similarly be impacted by a bank may benefit from this cautionary tale.

A State level complaint against the bank, for back dating notarized documents (which is perjury according to wording on the documents), is still open.

Blowing Out the L4-L5 Disk in My Back:

Because of bank-imposed circumstances, my friend's condo had to be sold for him at least four months sooner than otherwise would have been necessary. This rushed the process, and in my condition, it was profoundly difficult to prepare his condo for sale soon enough to use the proceeds for the cost of his care and his other bills. Most work was related to sorting and removing his stuff.

Obviously, a different bank was used for funds from the sale of his condo! Specifically, for funds remaining after paying off his reverse mortgage when his condo was sold for him in August, 2021. This made the funds accessible to pay for his care.

Also, regarding his bank: In February and March of 2021, the light sensitivity aspect of my condition was exacerbated by his bank requiring people to wait in line outside of the building (in sunlight) for up to 45 minutes at a time. The bank had closed many of its branches, so the few branches that remained open had to service many times the usual number of customers.

The concentration of customers at the bank also caused their handicapped parking to be woefully inadequate, and there were times when it took me more than 5 (tiring) minutes to make it up the slope from the nearest available parking space (using a rollator walker with a seat on it) to the line at the entrance of the bank. (They only had ONE handicapped parking space in their parking lot, and maybe half a dozen spaces in total that did not require walking up a long, steep incline.) This caused me to be tired before meeting with a banker, and also increased exposure to sunlight there.

Once I was burned by excess sunlight exposure (for my condition) at the bank, I could not be exposed to sunlight more than a few minutes a day (and not much more than that in a week) over the next several months without being further burned or blistered. The bank was the only place where I got sunburned.

Because of the newly increased light sensitivity, I had to drive out to my friend's condo at night (a 1.5 hour drive), black out the windows, then stay there several days at a time (on each trip) to go through and clean his stuff, prepare his condo for sale, and list it for sale with a realtor, etc.

His stuff was not very organized. And for some reason: In the kitchen, closets, bathrooms, and the two rooms with the most stuff in them, stuff was unusually grimy. Most of this stuff was coated in a sticky, smelly, film that nearly blackened whatever touched it. He did not smoke, so I didn't know if the grime was from gas appliances in his condo, failure to keep things clean, or both.

But the result was that anything brought to my place for repair, thorough cleaning, further sorting, or storage, or that was brought to him at the care home, or that was donated, had to be cleaned to some extent first. Otherwise, the stuff would spread the grime and odor. The odor was obvious, even though my sense of smell was still reduced from having had COVID several months earlier.

The air conditioning at his place was not working at that time, so I bought a portable room air conditioner to use until his air conditioning could be serviced. (There was a backlog on local air conditioning service that summer, so his A/C could not be serviced for some time.)

Because only one room was cooled during that time (and highs that summer were mid 90's to over 100 degrees F.), everthing had to incrementally be brought into, then out of, the one cooled room for cleaning and sorting. It took a long time. The cooled room was also where I slept while there, sometimes for over a week at a time. Because of the grime, heat, mess, and how much work had to be done, it was not a very pleasant place to be. The garage was the worst area, since it was even more grimy, and it never had air conditioning.

His stuff had to be gone through piece by piece to find and clean important items and locate a few missing documents. Due to the need to clean things on site before removing them, fatigue, and mostly because of the bank-imposed rush, there was no time to have an estate sale on site.

A few exceptions were that his car, workbench, and larger machine tools, as well as almost all of his R/C airplanes (which he had not used in over 10 years) were sold on site. The R/C planes took up over half a bedroom, and had to be removed to open up a place to stage his other items for sorting and cleaning.

Once the R/C planes, car, and large tools were out of the way, things went faster. This is because his place finally was no longer like a sliding number puzzle, where several items had to be moved to access other items.

I also wanted to be sure I found and retained items that he might want to keep or use at the board and care home, and separate out items that could later be sold for enough to pay for his incidental expenses, in the event his funds became exhuasted on his care and he went on State assistance.

In addition to sorting, etc., I photographed his condo as it was, then again after it was cleaned up. I also photographed his stuff, usually arraying items on the floor or a table to photograph it, whether it was retained or not. This was just in case he'd care to see pictures of it. But to the extent that his memory allowed, he was more interested in people or events in his past than in things. Therefore, beyond asking if he wanted certain items brought to him at the care home, there never was a time when discussing his condo or his stuff (or looking at pictures of either) became relevant.

Ultimately, his furniture was sold or disposed of by a third party, hopelessly broken items were thrown out (recycled when necessary), and large items plus a considerable amount of clothing from a deceased relative was donated to local charities. The best of his clothes and certain other items were cleaned and brought to care home for his use.

Smaller items and books of possible sentimental value to him, or that he might use at the home, were brought to my place for cleaning, storage (and repair when needed), until I could bring them to the care home. Several boxes of smaller items that had not yet been sorted were also brought to my place, to sort (and further clean) there.

It turned out that he did not want much more of his stuff. However, when he was in the hospital two years later, he seemed to like it when I read to him from his books about the ship he served on in the Navy. (Those books were the last thing he had read before he was hospitalized in late 2020.)

In all, over 30 boxes of stuff were brought to my place in July and August of 2021. In terms of volume, this may have been less than a 15 percent of the non-furniture items that were in his place, so he had a lot of stuff. The remainder was donated to local thrift stores, sold on site, or (in the case of decades-old bills, reams of old HOA mailings, and hopelessly broken items, etc.) thrown out or recycled. But I retained HOA communications that were specific to his condo.

I paid him market value (based on eBay prices) for the limited number of items I thought I might use myself, in the hope that the funds could help extend his time in the good board and care home.

Some items to be stored, tested, repaired, or further cleaned were packed in heavy boxes. These items were moved separately, then put back into their respective boxes at my place, so as not to lift the whole box full of stuff at once and strain my torn rotator cuff, etc.

Even though I had been careful not to lift anything too heavy, the sheer number of lifting operations was apparently too much. While handling the next to last load of his stuff, my back suddenly gave out. An MRI showed that the L4-L5 disk in my back was blown out, and it was pinching a nerve.

The blown out disk was very debilitating for the next eight months. I needed to have someone else do almost all of the lifting for the last load of my friend's stuff (trading some of his automotive CB radios for the labor), and I could not do much at all for months after that. I could not even visit my friend or start to sort the rest of his stuff during that time.

Surgical level lower back pain made it take 10 to 15 agonizing minutes to just get up and transition to standing at the beginning of each day (on the days I could stand up at all), and it was almost as bad each time I got up after briefly laying down to rest. When I was able to get up during those months, I had to use a 4-wheel walker all the time. A cane usually wasn't enough. My right leg also became weak from the pinched nerve, and the lost strength was not significantly recovered for years.

The blown out L4-L5 disk is the main reason I still have such a low medical (and real world) lifting limit. All ultimately because a bank would not fully honor my friend's POA documents!


An HMO where Patients Experience a "Natural Dying Process", Even if They Want to Live:

His HMO was also a problem, especially in 2023. It took them a year and a half to even provide his medical records. And when these were provided, all information about his most recent two hospitalizations (and related rehab) were missing. His name obviously is not mentioned, both for his privacy and due to HIPAA.

Precursors:

Previously, up through late 2022: Due to delays caused by SOLELY by my friend's BANK, his skin cancer got worse throughout early 2021. Medical appointments could not be made for him while the bank situation (and thus, his discharge date from hospital overflow) was unresolved.

After that, there was nearly another two to three month backlog in appointments at his HMO. But his doctor was able to pull some strings and arrange an appointment a month sooner than what I had been able to come up with (June vs July).

Playing "Catch Up" with His Cancer:

From then on, it was a matter of playing catch up on his skin cancer. One facial lesion went from dime size to almost silver dollar size during a period of time equal to the bank's delay. Another went from smaller than a dime to the size of a quarter. And that was just what was on the surface.

After this, every cancer surgery on his face had to be more invasive than it would have been if it could have been done two months earlier (without the bank-imposed delay). And, there had to be more total surgery appointments, because the more invasive surgeries could not be grouped together as much as the lesser surgeries could have been without the bank delay. One of the facial surgeries was even disfiguring to an extent.

In October of 2022, one of his facial incisions was not healing, and it ultimately became infected. This was from a surgery that probably would not have been done as late, or have been as invasive, if his bank had not imposed a two month delay over a year and a half earlier.

HMO Sent Him Home Twice, Apparently without Adequate Treatment:

He went to his HMO ER twice for the incision problem, but he was sent home twice without anything significant being done about it. But then, only four hours after he was sent home the second time, a hospital case manager called and said that two tests had just come back, and both showed that he had considerable bacteria in bis blood (sepsis).

She said he had to be brought back to the hospital on an emergency basis. However, she said the HMO would not do anything about arranging transport, so there was no choice (with my being 70 miles away) but to call 911, and get transferred to where I could arrange an ambulance for him.

A Contentious HMO Case Manager in Late 2022:

I had the distinct impression that the case manager had sent him home too early, and that she would not help arrange transport to obscure that. This impression was reinforced by her attempts to discharge him too early on two subsequent occasions that year.

The same case manager seemed to want to provoke, and repeatedly did provoke, his board and care home manager when she brought my friend to a facility or picked him up. Very amateurish.

As soon as he was brought to the hospital by ambulance, he was admitted to the hospital and put on IV antibiotics via a PICC central line. However, after only a few days in the hospital, and before the course of IV antibiotics was finished, he was discharged to a rehab facility in Pomona.

Scabies, a Possible Incomplete Course of His IV Antibiotics, and COVID:

While at the rehab facility, he got scabies, and in the scratching that accompanied that, he pulled out his PICC IV. After this, the same case manager (who was for some reason also involved with the rehab facility) repeatedly dodged questions about if they re-established his IV and finished his antibiotics.

Before long, the rehab facility tried to discharge him back to his board and care home - before his treatment for Scabies was complete. (They had previously volunteered that they would keep him until that was complete.) So I filed (and won) an appeal, and they kept him until that treatment was completed.

But he tested positive for COVID about when he would have been discharged, so they kept him a while longer. But upon his proposed discharge, it was found that the facility had not isolated him in a different room from other COVID patients, and they would not do a PCR test.

The care home (understandably) refused to take him under these conditions, so I appealed again. This second appeal was lost, but it bought enough time (private pay) to iron things out so he could be safely discharged. This HMO rehab facility never provided his records, even when my requests for records were backed up by the hospital.

A Longer Term Hospitalization, with Recurring Life and Death Implications:

In February, 2023, he had a crisis and had to be hospitalized longer term. He had sepsis again (this time, an antibiotic resistant variety), pneumonia, and congestive heart failure.

Many things pointed back to the rehab facility he had been in a couple of months earlier (the same one that did not provide records), and the possibility that they had not finished his antibiotics after he had pulled out his IV. Some of the HMO doctors later even concurred with this opinion as to possibly why his sepsis was resistant. Also, his heart had been fine in tests from only a few days before he was sent to the rehab facilty, but now, his E.F. was almost 20 percent lower.

After he had been in the hospital a couple of weeks, it appeared that the pulmonary staff made an error in administration of his oxygen (using a nose cannula, when he breathes through his mouth) and his O2 saturation had frequently been down in the mid to low 80's for days during the week before I was finally able to get to the hospital, which was 70 miles away. His kidneys had begun to fail during this period of low saturation, and it appeared that dialysis would be necessary.

Careless Hospital Staff Panics My Friend, and His Subsequent Desire to Prolong Life:

While I was visiting him at the hospital on 13 March, 2023, a female doctor at the hospital came into his room, and carelessly and aggressively pushed for a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order) - IN HIS HEARING. When I did not promptly agree to that (I was blindsided by it suddenly being pushed, and was not prepared to address it on the spur of the moment while being pressured), she became more aggressive, while still in his hearing.

This happening in my friend's hearing obviously panicked him. He took on an expression similar to that of the older man in the 1971 movie "Andromeda Strain" had, when the seals in the laboratory failed, and the character thought the Andromeda Strain was going to kill him. My friend's breathing rate also became unsustainably high.

At that point, I decided to ask him if he wanted to be resuscitated (if necessary) or prolong life. His Advance Directive had said he did not want to prolong life, but his reaction of panic (to the doctor pushing a DNR in his hearing) seemed to indicate otherwise.

So I asked him about those things - 20 times. He was asked this many times so that he could be asked in different ways, to keep reflexes from being interpreted as answers. And he calmed down after I explained that I was going to ask about his preferences, then back him up on his wishes.

At the time, there were not many ways he could respond, so he had to answer by squeezing my hand. To rule out reflexes, I asked questions in different ways, sometimes asking him to respond if he DID want to prolong life, and at other times to respond if he did NOT. I also tested his response before asking questions. He was 19 out of 20 on that, for 95 percent confidence that he was responding when (and as) asked to. This included his not indicating a response on the few occasions when he was asked not to respond.

Some of the time, I also asked him to squeeze my hand to indicate "Yes" answer, and NOT to squeeze to indicate "Yes" at other times. For each question, I moved a finger in the same way to indicate when I had finished asking the question. Asking him NOT to squeeze for some of the answers made a reflex "answer" highly unlikely, since it would be difficult for him to inhibit squeezing my hand if squeezing it was a reflex.

The resuscitation and prolong life questions were asked separately, to simplify each question. The resuscitation question was asked 20 times, and the prolong question was asked 16 times, with half of the latter asked in the context of being on life support for the rest of his life. Eight additional questions specific to a ventilator were also asked. He was also asked about his religious faith.

His answers emphasized that he did want resuscitation and he did want to prolong life. To be more certain about his answers, I asked the last session of each set of questions in a way that placed more emphasis the down sides. For example, I emphasized the doctors' comments that CPR was likely to break his ribs, and that "full" recovery was unlikely after resuscitation. I also emphasized that being on a ventilator for more than a few days would involve creating a hole in his throat. The emphasis of his answers remained about the same.

After a matrix of asking each question the above noted number of times (and in different ways) was completed, there was more than 87 percent confidence that he DID want to be resuscitated, since he had indicated that he wanted that 17 out of the 20 times I asked him. There was 75 percent confidence that he DID want to prolong life, and 75 percent confidence that he DID want a ventilator if it was needed.

A group of questions was similar to the following. In this example, the questions ask if a person ever had a dog. The answers which indicate that a person DID have a dog follow each question:

No: Question:				  Answer, if DID have a dog:
1.  Grip if you DID have a dog.		  Grip
2.  Grip if you DID have a dog.		  Grip
3.  Grip if you NEVER had a dog.	  No Grip
4.  Grip if you DID have a dog.		  Grip
5.  Do NOT grip if you DID have a dog.	  No Grip
6.  Do NOT grip if you DID have a dog.	  No Grip
7.  Do NOT grip if you NEVER had a dog.	  Grip
8.  Do NOT grip if you DID have a dog.	  No Grip
C:  Asked to grip w/o asking question.	  Grip

In the categories that had 75 percent confidence from the answers, half of the negative answers occurred when a question was posed as a double negative (i.e. "do not squeeze if you do not want to prolong life", where a squeeze means do prolong life, as in the example question 7 above). That can be a curve ball even for healthy people. The request to grip at the end is for more confidence that not gripping was his intended reply, as opposed to his going to sleep.

A continuum in the compexity of how questions were asked served a dual purpose, in that it also helped assess mental alertness at a basic level. This was helpful because his outward appearance usually did not imply alertness. (But at the same time, I could tell that being there was meaningful to him.) The order that questions were asked was also switched around, to reduce anticipation bias.

I ordinarily would not have asked that many questions in only a few hours, but the hospital was pressing for an answer, and applying pressure toward a DNR and not prolonging life. He was asked a few of the same questions weeks later, with similar results.

It is interesting to note what one doctor at a different hospital said months later: The doctor had spoken with a patient who recovered after being panicked by a careless staff member, in a way similar to what happened to my friend. That patient said he was so angry at staff who panicked him that he indicated he did want to prolong life - just as a way of saying "Screw you!" to the staff member who panicked him, since prolonging life was the opposite of what that staff member wanted. I had never considered that this could be a patient's motivation for answering such important questions in a certain way.

Ironically, that is sort of what happened concerning the doctor that pushed for a DNR in his hearing and panicked him. If she had not done that, I may have never asked him about resuscitation or prolonging life, and likely would have acted based on his Advance Directive. And he then very well could have passed away in March 2023, perhaps even peacefully - if he had not been panicked by that doctor. But since he was panicked by that doctor, I asked him about prolonging life, etc., and his answers informed what I did on his behalf from then on.

Going on Life Support for Real:

Unfortunately, the same doctor came back about four hours later, and began to push a DNR again. I told her to take it out in the hall, so we went out of the hospital room. However, when I again would not agree to a DNR (and cited my having questioned him about it), she got upset and started YELLING at me about it, increasingly acting like you might expect someone to act if they had lost it emotionally. Before long, everyone in the corridor was staring in her direction.

But the worst part is that she had been loud enough, for long enough, that it panicked my friend again. And I could not calm him down this time. His breathing rate was in the high 40's for hours, which was unsustainable. When the shift changed that night, the night doctor said that he would not survive the night unless he was put on a ventilator, so he was put on one at about 1:30 a.m.

About a week later, I was told that he had fluid around one of his lungs, and it was recommended that fluid be removed. I promptly approved this, especially given that the amount of fluid was significant. It was also proposed that he should get a PEG (abdominal wall) feeding tube instead of the one routed through his nose. I was in favor of this as well, because people I knew said that getting rid of the feeding tube in their nose was a big improvement in their quality of life, mainly because it eliminated a recurring sore throat.

If all of these procedures had been done, I may have considered the hospital's stated preference that dialysis be done only for a trial period. But all of the procedures had not been done. In fact, neither of them had been done.

Visiting the HMO hospital was almost always extremely stressful. It was 70 miles from where I lived, and every time I went there, one or more doctors (etc.) would push a DNR, or even more than that. When I did not agree, the person pushing would often get upset, and maybe about half of the time, even start yelling at me. (The nurses usually did not have that bad of an attitude.) All of this wore me out, and I had to stay in a motel overnight to be up to making the drive back home. I usually came back to the hospital after checking out of the motel, to get in two visits on each trip.

I also received numerous unsolicited calls from the hospital, with almost all of them pushing a DNR (and/or termination of dialysis, etc.), often without providing any information about his condition. When I would not agree to a DNR, etc., the person calling would often also get upset, and a portion of them would also start yelling over the phone. On some days, I got multiple unsolicited calls per day. On one occasion, I got four such unsolicited calls in one day, which in total used up almost an hour and a half of time trying to pressure me.

Since so much time was spent on the phone with unsolicited callers from the hospital, I sometimes brought up peripheral subjects to establish context. Many callers from the hospital seemed to be very cavalier about things that would, or could, result in my friend's death, so I mentioned that I had asked my friend about his faith in late March, in the context of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

The response to this surprised me. Most of the callers had their family origins in a certain Communist country in Asia. And their response ranged from having no idea what I was talking about, to that of a deer in the headlights. They had no concept about eternal life. They could not even grasp what eternal life was, or that it was even possible. The subject even made a few sound afraid. All of this made their cavalier attitude about death seem even more puzzling. If there is no eternal life, then this life on earth is all there is, yet they had no problem with snuffing it out.

Bioethics Board Denies Important Procedures Without Informing Me:

Because the above procedures were NOT done, all bets were off in regard to limiting dialysis to a trial period as far as I was concerned. Denial of some of the procedures was setting him up to fail.

I did not find out until some time later that those procedures had been denied by the HMO Bioethics Board. Yet I had not been informed of this as POA. It was not until the next November that I discovered (from a doctor with some candor) that they had never removed the fluid from around his lung, and that this was why. (That might also explain their failure to provide his records that included any of this time period. But I have other evidence of this and other aspects.)

After a while, by early April 2023, he began to tolerate being weaned off of the ventilator, and he began to be able to respond to questions by moving his legs on command. This provided two communication modes, and it looked like more may develop. I asked him one of the previous questions again a few times, and got a similar answer.

I would have asked him more at this later time, but one of the doctors said it could tax him too much. Yet at the same time, the doctor was saying he was not responsive. That begs the question of how a question can be taxing if a patient supposedly is not responsive? (But the fact is that he was responsive, and his response latency was improving.)


Rescuing a Friend from an HMO "Death Panel" (And Yes, Death Panels are REAL!)

Since the term "Death Panel" was used during a 2009 debate about Obamacare legislation, there has been controversy about whether or not death panels became a reality. They did indeed become a reality (I have first hand knowlege of this), but in a different way than what was anticipated back then. In the 2009 debate, the term was used in the context of bureaucrats deciding which disabled or critially ill patients would or would not receive adequate care. The death panel I encountered was not anyting like this. It was instead a function of the "Bioethics Board" in my friend's HMO.

The Death Panel (unofficial name) I encountered was very real, and I have its unilateral April 2023 written decree of death for my friend (via withheld care) as evidence. I also have a follow up message from them that dictated when care would be withheld (and that acknowledged that, as his POA, I objected to their withholdng said care). In that message, their stated, written intent was again that this would result in his death. So in my experience (summarized below), the death panel was a role that the "Bioethics Board" of the hospital or HMO took on; in this case, at a time when the organization did NOT want to expend a certain scope of resources on a patient.

Once the Board had their sights on a patient (in this case, my friend in 2023), care was denied to him, often behind the scenes at first (as in March 2023), in that withholing of care was not timely disclosed. In the case of my friend, I was not even informed that the Bioethics Board was involved in some of these matters until weeks and months (8 months in the case of one procedure) later.

If a patient survives this initial stage, as my friend did, the Board has a formal meeting and DECREES that certain aspects of care will openly be DENIED to the patient, with the STATED INTENT that this will result in the DEATH of the patient. (Thus, the term "Death Panel".)

I first got wind of the Death Panel on about 13 April 2023, during a heated exchange over the phone with one of the doctors who made an unsolicited call to my house. He was wanting to both impose a DNR and end my friend's dialysis. When I calmly and cordially would not agree to these, he quickly got mad and started yelling over the phone, not too unlike a few previous callers.

However, this doctor really lost it, and declared that he was going to unilaterally impose a DNR over my objection. I obviously disagreed and argued with him about that. Then, when he was more upset, he started bragging about things the Bioethics Board had been doing behind the scenes. This was my first introduction to the existence of the Bioethics Board, and their involvement.

The most notable thing he bragged about was that it was the Board that had denied my friend a PEG (abdominal wall) feeding tube - after my friend's attending physician had recommended a PEG tube, and obtained my approval for it over two weeks earlier. Since that time, doctors and nurses had just said the hospital had not gotten around to the procedure yet. When in reality, the Board had already denied the procedure without informing me.

The next thing the angry doctor did was proudly declare that the Bioethics Board was meeting the next day, and that they were going to overrule me and deny dialysis to my friend.

From that point onward, I sought to make direct contact with the Bioethics Board. The Board did not meet the next day, but they did meet early the next week. When I finally reached someone who knew what was going on, I was told that I could indirectly submit material to support my position to the Board. It was very short notice, and based on the Board's decision (see below) I was not convinced that they got (or considered) everything I had sent. It was eventually possible to communicate directly with the head of the Board, but not until the evening before their meeting.

The Panel's Death Decree:

Early in the week of 16 April, 2023, the HMO Bioethics Board met and ruled that they would OVERRULE me as POA, and UNILATERALLY impose a DNR and deprive my friend of dialysis; with the expressed intent that this result in his DEATH.

Prior to when they did this, I had been under the impression that it was illegal to overrule a POA, especially on something this significant. Perhaps it is illegal, but they didn't act like it was.

They ruled this way, even though I had submitted material to them stating that my friend had unambiguously indicated that he DID want to prolong life in March 2023. I had even sent them documentation for how he had been asked about prolonging life, etc., twenty times.

The Board allowed a brief time to try to transfer him to another hospital, but they provided NO assistance at all in this (when regulations appear to indicate that they should assist in this), and I later found that my efforts to get him transferred had been undermined.

I had also tried to relocate him to various sub-acute skilled nursing facilities, but that was also undermined, usually by a hospital case manager calling the facilities to discourage them from taking him. (Some of facilities told me that this is what happened.) The case manager who did this was not his usual case manager.

There were other times when the same new case manager claimed that a given facility said they would not take my friend. However, when I called the facility myself, the facility said they had not heard from anyone at the HMO. This and other circumstances gave me the impression that this new case manager may have been a "fixer", whose purpose was to hinder my friend's transfer.

And on several occasions, when it looked like I had something arranged, the HMO hospital would move the goal posts, communicate things that discouraged people at the facilities, withdraw existing authorizations (some facilites told me the HMO also did this), and/or increasingly say more aspects had to be private pay. All of this seemed unethical to say the least, so it seemed ironic that a "Bioethics" Board appeared to be behind it.

A private pay situation was an issue not so much for financial reasons (my friend's money was HIS money), but it complicated or undermined things administratively, in that it was difficult or impossible to get my friend admitted to certain facilities, or scheduled for certain procedures, on a private pay basis. Especially on short notice.

After the above hindrances beccame apparent, I (in parallel) began formalizing documentation for the purpose of finding an attorney who would seek a Court Order to keep the HMO from doing in my friend. Unfortunately, it seemed that preventing harm was not what law firms were into. They were oriented toward going after offending parties after harm had been done. That would not do my friend any good, since the harm (if it was allowed to happen) would result in his death.

The Panel's Specific Death Sentence:

A couple of weeks after the "Bioethics" Board's mid April death decree (and ironically, on my friend's birthday), the Board declared (in writing) that his dialysis would end in two days, and that he would experience "a natural dying process." Specifically, low points of the written communication included the following:

"...so that you will have written confirmation, the medical team intends for [patient's name] HD [hemodialysis] session on [date] to be his final session..."
"..our intent will be to maintain patients's [imposed] DNR status, discontinue HD, and allow a natural dying process to occur..."
"Death due to renal failure is not immediate, so it is expected that [patient name] will persist for several days or more once HD is discontinued."

And over my written objection as his POA, they stopped his dialysis two days later. The Board's response to each written objection was to only write the reply: "Your objection is noted.".

After several days without dialysis, he had to go on a ventilator AGAIN, and he was never able to get off of it after that. (However, the HMO Bioethtics Board's then undisclosed prohibition on removing fluid from around his lung was also a factor in this. Their failure to ever remove the fluid, and the Board's role in that, was not disclosed until November.)

The Rescue:

At this point, there were few options left. It had taken weeks to try and find a place for him. But finally, one of the independent congregate homes (one that the HMO had previously discouraged from taking him) decided to accept him.

Then, when the head of the Bioethics Board was on vacation, my friend was physically "rescued" from the HMO hospital, by having an ambulance (private pay to the tune of $4k) move him 70 miles - to a sub-acute care congregate home in another county. (The HMO may have been in the wrong in insisting that this transfer be private pay, since they later had to pay for it.)

His discharge from the HMO hospital was not an AMA discharge, partly because there was no "medical advice" to go against when the HMO's stated intent was to bring about the end of his life.

My friend's new location was closer to where I lived (making it more practical to visit him), and it was in another jurisdiction, where his rights as a resident of the new county could presumably be asserted in order to keep the HMO from clawing him back to their hospital in the other county.

The literal recurring life and death nature of all of this was causing unbearable stress, since it seemed that failing to rescue my friend from his HMO, even if I did everything I could, would be the same as letting him down or violating his trust.

A Lot of Damage Had Been Done Before His Rescue

Once my friend was in the congregate home (and thus closer to my place), I visited him there almost every day. The DNR was removed, and dialysis was ordered by his attending physician. However, things were about to get worse before they got better. A lot of harm had been done to him during the week that the HMO had deprived him of dialysis.

The first problem was that the congregate home failed to get him to his first (private pay) dialysis session on time, and then the dialysis clinic could not work him in. The home did not tell me about this until I called them to check status. The home also did not tell his attending physician about it, so I told him, and he went ballistic, since he knew how long the HMO had deprived my friend of dialysis.

(For background: Once a transfer from the HMO had been arranged a couple of days earlier, the HMO had provided one brief dialysis session to stabilize him for transport, but it wasn't enough dialysis to normalize his tests, or to even partially correct for all that went wrong during a whole week without dialysis.)

Next, on the evening before he was to have what would have been his second dialysis session, he pulled the feeding tube out of his nose. He was then sent to the nearest HMO hospital to get another one put in, but they kept him almost all night before getting around to it.

Then, even though the HMO hospital knew that his (private pay) dialysis appointment was early in the morning, their transport did not even take him back to the congregate home until after the time of his dialysis appointment. (And they would not instead take him directly to the dialysis clinic to compensate for that.) That made two missed dialysis sessions.

Worse, the HMO hospital would not do dialysis to compensate for keeping him so long that he would miss his dialysis appointment. And worse still, the HMO had sent him back to the congregate home in questionable condition, and he was unstable by later that morning.

It began to appear that all had been lost.

My Own Health Crashes from the Stress of Recurring Imposed Life and Death Situations:

Ultimately, my own health failed dramatically over a period of only a couple of hours, just as it appeared that all had been lost on the morning of 16 May, 2023. My doctor said that I had completely depleted my reserves, and had become exhausted in the fullest sense of the word.

The potential outcomes my doctor warned about (for failing to get enough rest from then on) were, and still are, scary. (This is part of why I could not push with the vigor I normally would when trying to get to the 2024 eclipse after the Frontier Internet and phone outage.)

The Most Important Parts of His Rescue Happened While I was too Ill to Act:

I have mentioned prayer in previous eclipse journals, and it applies here as well. This is because, just as I became temporarily incapacitated myself from all of the stress and short notice sleep deprivation, and while I was so spent that I could do nothing but lay in bed and pray - that was the time that the most important aspects of my friend's rescue happened.

At the very time when I had no power to do anything at all, and during the very hours I was in a helpless state, many beneficial things that were beyond my control happened:

One of the most important aspects of making his rescue effective was his admission to a NON-HMO hospital, which is something that I had not even considered as a possibility.

But things would get worse before they got better. Because by this time, a lot of damage had been done to my friend by his HMO depriving him of dialysis for a week:

When a medical transport came to the congregate home to take him to a private pay ($600 per session) dialysis clinic (the clinic was going to work him in early that afternoon), they found that he was too unstable to go to a dialysis clinic, and said that he instead had to be taken to the NEAREST hospital.

This was less than four hours after the HMO hospital had sent him back to the congregate home!

As it turned out, the nearest hospital was NOT with his HMO, and they had a completely different attitude than the HMO. This non-HMO hospital was success oriented.

His HMO mildly tried to claw him back to the hospital in the other county (almost 70 miles away), but I asserted his rights as a new resident of Los Angeles County (by virtue of his being in the northwest Los Angeles area Congregate Home prior to the current hospitalization), and the HMO relented.

And after a close call over the first two days at this new success oriented, non-HMO hospital, his condition turned around within two weeks. He also was never under a DNR at this hospital.

One important difference from the HMO is that the success oriented non-HMO hospital gave him enough diaysis to eventually bring his test results into the normal range; while the HMO (when it was providing any dialysis at all) was sometines only doing it enough (at times only twice a week) to get his numbers down to about twice as high as high normal values at the end of a session.

When I recovered enough to be able to take a taxi to the new hospital, and they learned of the circumstances that brought him there, they said he was the first patient they ever had there who had been saved from the decree of a Bioethics Board (or, in non-medical terms, a death panel).

Meanwhile, his condition improved at this new success oriented hospital. The hospital was a more positive environment than the HMO hospital had been, and it was closer. For this reason, I visited once or twice a week, though I had to take a taxi due to the exhaustion that had set in on 16 May.

Improved Enough for Discharge to a Skilled Nursing Facility with In-House Dialysis:

My friend started mouthing words within two more weeks, and he was discharged to a sub-acute skilled nursing facility another couple of weeks after that. He was intermittently and audibly speaking by not much more than two weeks after he was admitted to the skilled nursing facility.

Because he was talking past his ventilator, he could not speak very loud, and it did not sound like his usual voice. The facility tried a speech enabled ventilator attachment a couple of times, but he seemed to do better without it.

This was a radical improvement over the previous situation where the HMO had said he was not even responsive, when in fact he was responsive even back then. But now, after success oriented treatment, he was responsive in more conventional ways. However, one of the remaining issues, which could possibly be expected under the circumstances, was that he was not wakeful for very long on any given day. He had begun to exhibit this trend shortly before he was hospitalized.

The sub-acute skilled nursing facility had in-house dialysis, so he did not have to be moved to another facility for each dialysis session. In time, he began to regain kidney function, and to require dialysis less often. I was informed that he was producing over a liter of urine most days.

I visited him several times, but had to take a taxi because I was still too exhausted to drive there. I always read to him (usually from his Navy books) when it appeared that he may become wakeful. This usually brought him around after several minutes.

On one occasion, I brought some badges from his dance club and some other things, and told him what they were as he touched them. This seemed to me meaningful to him in a generic sense. He also smiled when I played classical music on the radio for him. Most music he had at his condo was classical.

Before long, he became more responsive to things he saw, so I brought his iPad, which had the most recent photos he had taken on it. He responded to these, and seemed to enjoy seeing them.

I hoped he'd improve enough to be wheeled outside, so he could be in the sun like he preferred. But there was a long way to go before this would be possible. Much of the time, he'd only been regaining ground lost in his rapid decline from when the HMO deprived him of dialysis in May. I wondered how much better his condition might be if the HMO had not harmed him in that way.

Over the rest of the summer, he remained at the sub-acute skilled nursing facility. There was no DNR there, and during that summer, he was safely out of his HMO's clutches.

Bureaucracy Puts Him in Harm's Way Again

Due to the situation with his HMO, I sought to get him out of his HMO well before the normal Medicare Open Enrollment period. He qualified for Medicare "Special Help", which should make it possible to switch providers by the next quarter. This could make it possible to get him out of his HMO, and into regular Medicare with a supplement, as soon as 1 October.

However, in late July, the State level services fouled up and enrolled him in the same HMO, when I had specified something entirely different for him. I had made the selection within a week of when the State provided the forms, so I was timely.

But the worker for the State had apparently lost the POA, etc., documents that were provided with his application, and she refused to recognize me as his representative so I could reverse their error. The worker offered no timely solution. This ultimately contributed to his death, by overloading me and making it impossible to get him out of his HMO in time.

I normally would not mention such details, but there were many irregularities in the HMO and in this State matter, and there was no official mechanism to address it. I wondered how many other patients or advocates went through something similar, or how many other patients didn't survive something similar.

The only agency I thought was really good was Medicare. They were amazing (in a good way) by comparison. And the success oriented hospital in the northwest part of L.A. was amazing as well. But I can't mention its name because I have to keep things vague for HIPAA reasons.


The HMO Gets Their Hooks in My Friend Again, with Fatal Results

In mid September 2023, my friend had a crisis and was taken from the skilled nursing facility to the nearest hospital, which was a non-HMO hospital. I visited him there and spoke with the doctors and other personnel.

When I saw him, he again indicated that he wanted to prolong life, though in a less convincing way than he had the previous March. He was in decline, and did not have much quality of life to look forward to. But if he wanted to prolong, I would back him up for as long as doing so was feasible for him.

I had an in-person meeting with the Palliative team at the non-HMO hospital, and they thought it was reasonable to pull him through in this hospitalization, including in regard to dialysis. It looked like he was not far from weaning off of it, so only a few more sessions may have been needed. But other indicators made it appear that he was getting close to running out of cycles.

But behind the scenes, the HMO was pressuring the hospital to transfer him to one of their hospitals. (The pressure they brought to bear, as related by the non-HMO hospital, was quite dramatic.) But it wasn't all out in the open.

When people from the non-HMO hospital called me, they said he was being taken back to the nursing facility (and I think they really thought that this was the case), but it turned out that his HMO had instead had the ambulance take him to their own hospital.

At this point, his HMO had their hooks in him again. They again imposed a DNR and deprived him of dialysis, using the antiquated Bioethics Board ruling of the previous April as justification. One doctor there made it clear that the HMO intended to finish what it started the previous spring, without any acklowledgememt of what had happened over the summer. He said that the hospital was going to make (to paraphrase his words): "what should have happened months ago" happen to my friend in the near term.

My freind's dialysis catheter was being changed by the non-HMO hospital at the time the HMO transferred him. (In that the catheter had been removed due to suspected infection, but it had not yet been replaced.) And once he was at the HMO hospital, the HMO refused to put in a catheter as a way to enforce their dialysis ban. And they again stated INTENT to end his life via withheld dialysis, regardless of my position on the matter (acting based on his preferences) as his POA.

Because his transfer to the HMO hospital had happened without my consent (and apparently without the knowledge of some at the non-HMO hospital), I refused to sign the admission papers for the HMO hospital. I also refused to provide consent on the phone, telling them that I did not authorize the transfer. (Not sure how the HMO planned to bill Medicare for that, when there was no consent for his admission to their hospital.)

And so, at a time when he was nearly weaned off of dialysis, his HMO deprived him of dialysis yet again, and he began to succumb to this (and to the undisclosed fluid that was still around his lung) over the next two and a half months. They soon transferred him back to the subacute skilled nursing facility - but without a dialysis catheter. The DNR was removed at the nursing facility.

In late November, he was admitted to a different HMO hospital, mainly for high BUN and other abnormal tests. I approved his November admission by phone, CONTINGENT on his getting dialysis if he needed it. But they re-imposed a DNR and deprived him of dialysis anyway.

Inconsistencies at the HMO Hospital:

On 25 November, a doctorr at the HMO hospital called and claimed that my friend was in complete kidney failure, that he was "not making any urine.", and that his veins and arteries were leaking blood. He thought that my friend could pass away as soon as that night or the next day. What this doctor said informed my decisions of that day, mainly in regard to the DNR (I did not oppose it that day, but I did not request it either), and escalation of certain types of care.

However, I later found that the statement about complete kidney failure was not true at all. The HMO had exaggerated his condition, possibly to create the impression that this was his last rodeo. And, since the HMO had long withheld certain types of care, it could very well become just that.

This discrepancy might explain something odd that had happened during 25 November call. Unlike the cold way most HMO doctors had come across, the doctor who called that day sounded like he was about to cry at the end of the call, even though I had been able to keep my composure during the call. (Difficult to do after the passing of my friend Willma Alcocer in late August.) This doctor had also informed me that the Bioethics Board was the party that prevented removing fluid from around my friend's lung the previous spring. I wondered if this doctor might have almost cried because he may have been violating his conscience by exaggerating my friend's ailments.

During this hospitalization, the HMO wanted to take him off of the ventilator, but since they had refused to remove the recently disclosed (yet preexising) fluid from around his lung, I would not let them take him off of it. Pulmonary issues had been a sore point with him ever since the careless doctor had panicked him the previous March.

A day or two later, one of the more aggressive palliative care people (who I had not even engaged beyond a preliminary consulting role) misrepresented part of a conversation, and told a doctor to reduce his oxygen without the doctor discussing it first. (This palliative person was also expressing a lot of medical opinions, when it was obvious that her medical knowlege was very limited.)

I did not learn of the change in his oxygen until I spoke with a doctor about 24 hours later, on 29 November. At that time, the doctor thought that he was terminal, but did not think that he would pass away very soon, indicating that it could be several days to a week or more. She said that he was only then beginning to have kidney failure, as opposed to (supposedly) having been in complete kidney failure since the previous Saturday.

His Last Rodeo:

However, my friend unexpectedly passed away from heart failure less than eight hours later. This was an unexpected but better and faster way to go, assuming that he was not experiencing air hunger.

But the palliative people had dropped the ball concerning having someone with him, and he died alone. I know this because the doctor who informed me that he passed away said that he had been "found" in a deceased (and cold) condition at a certain time, as opposed to anyone witnessing his death, or even knowing the exact time of his death for that matter. Another anomaly is that the time of death on his certificate is not congruent with what I was told that night, being 10 minutes later than the time I was told he was found deceased.

Regarding his being alone, I can only hope that he was in a fog where he could not perceive his surroundings, nor care if he could, much like the fog I was in when I almost bought the farm in September, 2019.

My friend passed away in the late night of 29 November, 2023. The fact that he lived 2.5 months without any dialysis at all shows how close he had come to being successfully weaned off of it. The bottom line: DON'T use an HMO if you want to SURVIVE such a situation! And, don't use an HMO if you want to keep your POA from being run through the ringer while advocating for you.

Blindsided by More Problems, Postmortem:

After my elderly friend passed away in November 2023, the problems continued. For example, the previously purchased "prearranged" funeral plan he had was not so prearranged. It turned out that the burial plots he had were incompatible with the full casket burial that had been arranged. When his arrangements were made and paid for the previous April, the cemetery had represented, in writing, that the plots were compatible with the full casket burial arrangements that were being made. But they did not even disclose that there was a problem until NINE DAYS Postmortem.

And they would not work toward a reasonable solution after they belatedly disclosed the problem. It was either cremate him or buy a larger plot for a small fortune. Since it was a little late to ask him about cremation, and because his funds could be inaccessible for some time after he passed away (and because I did not then know if Medi-Cal would have a claim on said funds), I had to file a complaint against the cemetery with the State. (I also prayed, as with other difficulties.) The solution was that the cemetery provided a full size burial plot at THEIR expense.

Unfortunately, all of this led to a long delay in his burial (and his death certificate). And he was not interred until 23 January, 2024. Almost two months after he passed away. The cemetery is not named here because the solution was acceptable in terms of what I thought he would have wanted, even though (for me) the matter still resulted in stress, anguish, and a lot of lost time.

Over the previous three years, it had been necessary to file more complaints on behalf of my friend than the sum of all complaints that I'd had to file on my own behalf in my entire lifetime. Some of the organizations seemed to act the way they did because of his age. Others (such as his bank, some in the call center at his credit card company, and a Case Manager at the Pomona area rehab facility) just seemed to enjoy jerking people around. Others (such as the HMO Bioethics Board) seemed motivated by money or control issues. In other words: Willful acts. Only rarely did problems seem to arise from simple incompetence.


Relative Priorities: Eclipses don't care if you see them, but friends do.

All of this obviously has nothing to do with eclipses, but it shows that I had responsibilities that were far more important than a total solar eclipse.

In the end, my friend had at least 6 months and 13 days (perhaps as much as 8 months and 15 days) more life than he would have had if his HMO had been allowed to have their way without resistance. A total solar eclipse does not hold a candle to that.

An eclipse does not care if anyone is there to see it. But a friend cares if you are there for them.

Also, I had become acquainted with a few other patient advocates along the way, and the fellowship of patient advocates is a sweet one, possibly because there are so few of them. When this journey began, I had no idea that I would end up being a patient advocate, or how grueling, yet rewarding, being an advocate can be.

And it was a way to make a difference, even if just for one person. On my 1994 eclipse trip to Bolivia, I had met Willma Alcocer. She was then a director at a primary school in Cochabamba. She was person who made a difference in many people's lives. And knowing her, even briefly, made me want to make a difference too. A difference far beyond anything to do with eclipses.

In addition to the above, many difficult things had been happening concurrently. One of these difficult things was that Willma Alcocer passed away in 2023, only two weeks before she was going to legally relocate to the USA - and to a place only 20 miles from where I live.


Several Other Friends Pass Away:

On 22 August, 2023, Willma Alcocer, one of the most remarkable people I had ever met, and one of the parties to whom I had dedicated my 1994 eclipse journal (and my 1997 story "Syzygy"), passed away in Bolivia. We first met in Bolivia during my solo expedition to the 3 Nov. 1994 total solar eclipse. She was then a director at a primary school in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

In more recent times, she had retired, and had been trying to legally relocate to the USA for years, but encountered red tape. Then her health became an issue, in that she became too weak to travel. She had heart surgery in 2018 to become strong enough to make the trip, but had a long recovery.

But then came COVID, and with it, overreaction and power grabs by many liberal governments. The 2021 administration in the USA imposed a Vaccine Mandate (only for legal immigrants) that was not lifted until May of 2023. She was not going to get the COVID vaccine because her elder sister had apparently died from a large amount of clotting - only a week after being vaccinated.

Willma was finally going to move to the USA in early September, 2023, and her sister had gone down to Bolivia to prepare her for the move and accompany her to the USA.

But she died only two weeks before she was going to move to the USA, to her sister's home, which was only 20 miles from me. AND, it was found that one of the same political people who was a problem for both of us in 1994 (see my 1994 total solar eclipse journal for details) allegedly contributed to her death by doing things that stressed her for a prolonged period of time.

I was a basket case for months after Willma died, at a time so close to when she was going to move here. Apathy was one of the things that accompanied the grief, and this made it harder to stand up for my friend against his HMO, or do anything else.

Dealing with the HMO was particularly difficult during the worst of the grief over Willma's death. If my voice broke while speaking with the HMO, they seemed to see it as weakness, and then would aggressively pile on pressure and try to get me flustered. The people at the HMO who did that (especially those who acted as though they had been in the CCP), were absolutely heartless.

To counter this, I had to be "cried out" over Willma shortly before I contacted the HMO on a given day. So, I found combinations of music and pictures of Willma that would set off rain, and would go through that anguish before contacting the HMO. This probably led to more rain than would otherwise have fallen, but the nature of the HMO made it necessary.

Sometimes, it is OK to be broken when one so precious as Willma has left this earth, especially under the circumstances she endured. And even though it hurts.
- It is then easier to acknowledge our helplessness, and just do what a helpless person can do, which is next to nothing. And to grieve and pray. And to leave any recompense to Him.
- Because when God puts together what is broken, it can become better than before it was broken.
- He is the ONLY cure for sorrow, pain, and brokenness from such loss.
- Confiando en Dios. Anque la vida duela. Solo Dios es fiel.
- The words in the Roberto Orellana song "La Paz de Dios" include the phrase: "Busca la paz y olvida el enojo" (Seek peace and forget anger). When broken and submissive before the Lord, this seems more reasonable, and can help lead to at least some restoration of inner peace.

I also didn't care at all about eclipses for almost six months after her death. In fact, since I had met her on an eclipse trip, and eclipses reminded me of her, I almost DID NOT WANT to see another eclipse during the worst months of the grief. However, this had no effect on whether or not I could go to an eclipse, or even prepare for one, since I could then do neither because of responsibility for my friend, plus the two months of problems with the cemetery that followed his passing.

Besides Willma, three other people I knew, including this friend for whom I was POA, and my late mom's best friend since her school days - had also died in the span of only a few months. During the same period of time, I also belatedly learned that my friend German Morales (of ASO in Bolivia) had died.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Picking Up Where I Left Off in Late 2020 on Eclipse Prep - 3 Years Later, in Early 2024:

By early February 2024, the grief had become less debilitating, in large part due to the kind support of one of Willma's nieces. One prescription I was on had also held me back in terms of initiative, but it was discontinued after my pulse rate went too low for an extended time.

After this, I began to have some initiative again, and I half-heartedly resumed preparing for the 2024 total solar eclipse. When it became apparent that I WOULD be able to finish the eclipse experiment and imaging setup in time, I pursued it with more purpose.

From that point on, I DID want to go to the 2024 eclipse. This is partly because each total solar eclipse I observed after the stressful 1994 eclipse trip had helped dilute the bad memories of the 1994 impositions of a local politician and his rich cronies, the serious illness that resulted (which required increased surgery to correct), and their interfering in the eclipse program and southern sky observations, and especially their limiting the time that Willma and I could have together.

However, the state of exhaustion that had begun in May 2023 was still an issue, in that I lacked stamina to drive even a fraction of the distance required to get to the 2024 total solar eclipse path. The symptoms were remarkably similar to symptoms of exhaustion that resulted from unexpected impositions of the failed politician and rich men in Bolivia some 30 years earlier, and one of my doctors said that it could take at least a month of bed rest, followed by appropriate exercise, to regain much stamina, etc.

Also, the 2024 eclipse setup and associated luggage was too large and heavy for me to handle in an airport or bring on an airplane, being the equivalent of seven large carry on bags and weighing about 250 pounds in total. I also had a medical lifting restriction that prevented handling more than one small carry on item myself. And even for that, I usually had to put such an item on the seat of a 4-wheel rollator walker to move it very far. This made flying alone impossible.

In the End, it All Came Down to the Unreliability of a Telecommunications Company:

The search was on for a ride to Texas to see the eclipse. By 18 March, I had composed messages (in text files) to ask several people I knew if they, or someone they knew, could either take me and my eclipse setup to the eclipse, or be a driver to get my car there.

That night, I was only hours from sending these messages out when my Phone AND Internet (BOTH by Frontier) went down. And these stayed down for NINE DAYS. I had no way to communicate with anyone except via a Tracfone I had acquired for the trip, but its number was unfamiliar to people I could reach by phone. I also did not know the phone numbers of most of my other friends and contacts, and only had their email. The excuses Frontier provided for not being "able" to timely restore service were way out there, and are covered below.

In the end, it became CERTAIN that I WOULD HAVE made it to the eclipse if the Frontier outage had been only 2-3 days shorter (that is, a week or less of continuous outage, as opposed to nine days). It all came down to the amount of lead time one of the otherwise available drivers would have had to give his employer in order to get time off work to go to the eclipse.

Also, the hours of time required on my Tracfone, to try to get Frontier to act - was time that could have otherwise been spent resting and physically getting ready for the eclipse trip. If that time had not been lost, it would have also been possible to go with a BACKUP plan for a ride. In order for the backup to work, I would have had to be ready to go a full day earlier than I was. (The eclipse equipment was ready in time for that, but preparations related to accommodating my medical condition (including limiting exposure to light) while on the road were not finished.) It certainly would have been possible to be ready one day earlier if so much time had not been lost to Frontier.

But Frontier had NO sense of urgency in restoring service, even for a disabled person. And because they apparently have a MONOPOLY on the lines here, they would restore service when they felt like it. And when they felt like it was a few days TOO LATE to make it possible to arrange a ride (with my equipment) to the 2024 eclipse.

For this reason, Frontier's excuses (and the implications this could have if there was a natural disaster that caused widespread outages) are immortalized below. The harm was irreparable, in that I will be older when other total solar eclipses occur, and those likely to occur in my lifetime are only observable from other countries.

It could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars (that I can't responsibly spend) to get myself and my equipment to a suitable foreign eclipse site, since that would require funding assistants to register all of the instrumentation with U.S. Customs, then get it all to a future foreign eclipse of sufficient duration. On a foreign trip, it would also be difficult (though not impossible) to fully black out rooms I sleep in, and limit sunlight exposure to the extent advisable for my condition.

Had I been able to get to the domestic 2024 total solar eclipse, I could have handled all of the equipment myself (using my rollator walker to move each box or case), and my brother (who was at the same motel I had reservations at) could have helped move stuff if I was weaker than usual.

Unfortunately, such a favorable scenario is not possible at a foreign eclipse. Assistants would be required to get myself, eclipse instruments, and a rollator walker to a foreign total solar eclipse. (Of course, if Frontier wants to fund all that is needed for me to transport and use the equipment at a foreign eclipse of sufficient duration, to partially compensate for their long outage...)

After all the catching up that followed more than three years of lost time, it all came down to the unreliability of a telecommunications company in the weeks before the 2024 eclipse. And a telecommunications debacle shortly before a total solar eclipse was eerily similar to what had happened 30 years earlier, right before the stressful 1994 eclipse trip to Bolivia. Except for one important difference: The 1994 telecommunications debacle did not prevent the 1994 eclipse trip!

All I have to show for my 2024 efforts in planning, etc., and motel reservations, is a $229.98 charge on my credit card for having to cancel my 3-day reservations of two rooms, on the day before I would have otherwise arrived in Waco, TX, plus a similar penalty for late property taxes.

It WAS Adequately Clear at the Site I Selected in Waco, TX.

My brother in Colorado was able to go to the path of totality, and he stayed at the same motel where I had reservations. He and my 94 year old Dad both observed the eclipse from there, as I would have. The motel grounds were better for my applications than the McLane Stadium grounds (for which I had written the eclipse procedure) would have been.

And, it was adequately CLEAR there during the entire duration of totality! There were high, thin clouds, but they were very thin. Almost a full solar diameter of corona (with a lot of structure) was visible all the way around the moon, with more than a solar diameter of corona being visible in two directions. The boundary of the lunar umbra was not visible from there during mid totality due to low clouds near the horizon, but the corona was visible.

So, it is almost certain that I would have obtained good results from all six corona cameras in the setup (including extreme close up video of second and third contact) if I had been there. Those who would have wanted to see such material have Frontier Communications to thank for the lack of it.

Photos and descriptions of equipment (for the total eclipse) is included in this web page, as are visible and H-Alpha photos of the partial eclipse, as seen from L.A. It is hoped that the good performance I got from the equipment (and surprisingly, from myself) during test runs (for the total eclipse) will be added as an Appendix within a few months of the eclipse date.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Similarities Between the 1994 and 2024 Solar Eclipses (and what preceded them)

Similarities Between the 1994 and 2024 Eclipses (and related trips) The paths of the of totality with respect to the solar azimuth were similar. But differences included the solar elevation angle and the direction the umbra moved. Motion of the 2024 umbra with respect to the solar azimuth was similar that of 1994, except that the relative direction of motion for the umbra is reversed in 2024. This would probably cause the most impressive views of the 2024 umbra to occur during and after totality.

There were other similarities between 1994 and 2024, but these were more down to earth. The eclipse expeditions planned for both years were preceded by highly disruptive problems with telecommunication companies (Excel in 1994 and Frontier in 2024) - to such an extent that it impacted each expedition.

The Telecommunications Debacle of October 1994 (Excel):

Shortly before my 1994 eclipse trip to Bolivia, my MCI phone service was "slammed" to a different carrier without my consent - TWICE! I did not learn of the change until I got the bill (with exorbitant phone rates) from the new and unfamiliar carrier in October. This meant that the unauthorized carrier change had happened in September or perhaps earlier.

After some investigation, it was found that an unethical sales person, whom I had never even spoken to (and at a company I had never spoken to), unilaterally changed my phone service from MCI to AT&T. Then, almost immediately, it was changed again from AT&T to a company I had never even heard of called Excel.

It was barely possible to change my phone service back to MCI before I left for Bolivia. However, all of this required a LOT of time that had been set aside for rest and final preparations.

Further, all of this rendered my MCI International calling card unusable. And it was not possible to get a new MCI International calling card in time for the trip. This increased per-minute phone call cost from Bolivia by a factor of three or four over what it would have been otherwise.

Worse, the considerable time lost to this 1994 telecommunications debacle prevented getting enough rest immediately before the expedition, which in turn made my health more susceptible to the unexpected political nonsense (from the brother of a 1993 Bolivian Presidential candidate and his rich cronies) that was unexpectedly encountered - starting on my first day in Bolivia.

Specifically, being spent at the beginning of the trip made my more health susceptible to sleep deprivation and exhaustion from political impositions that prevented much sleep or rest during my first three days and two nights in Bolivia. After that, I was very ill for the rest of the trip (including during the eclipse), and surgery was required afterward. (Details are in my 1994 eclipse journal.)

Following the 1994 eclipse expedition, I sought to settle the Excel bill in a way which had a per-minute charge that was equivalent to MCI's rates. (There was ZERO chance that I was going to pay the full (high) amount of the bill, since it was for service at a carrier I had not authorized.)

After discussions with Excel, they were going to charge only what MCI would have charged, but only if I documented what the MCI charges would have been for every call on the phone bill, and that was a LOT of phone calls. That was a ridiculous amount of documentation, given that I did not make or authorize the switch from MCI to their company. And I didn't have time for all of that.

Ultimately, they relented and said that I didn't have to pay the bill at all. This may have been partly because they acknowledged that the unethical sales person who slammed my phone service to their company worked for them.

More detail on this (and the 1994 eclipse itself, plus Bolivian political intrigue I was involuntarily exposed to back then) is in Section 1 of my "Eclipse Chaser's Journal, Part 3, The Wild One: Total Solar Eclipse of November 3, 1994."

The Telecommunications Debacle of March 2024 (Frontier):

In 2024, a sudden and LONG outage of my Phone AND Internet service, BOTH by Frontier Communications, began late on the night of 18 March 2024 - only about two weeks before I needed to leave for the 2024 eclipse, if traveling by road.

This was a BIG problem, because, I was then temporarily not strong enough to be comfortable driving myself to Texas, or even across town for that matter. Therefore, I was communicating online to see if a combined trip could be arranged with another observer in my area. However, the sudden and complete failure of Frontier's Internet service pulled the rug right out from under this, just as as I had almost finished composing messages to a number of people.

The long outage of BOTH Phone AND Internet service by Frontier Communications, and the fact that they would not even provide an estimate for when service may be restored, posed an extreme risk to the 2024 eclipse expedition. An expedition that required hundreds of hours to prepare for over a period of years, not to mention the considerable funds required. (The above part of this paragraph was written during the Frontier outage, before it became apparent that the outage would persist so long that it prevented the 2024 eclipse expedition.)

In addition to eclipse related matters, the outage made it impossible to communicate with my doctors on their patient portals during a fairly critical time. The long Frontier outage also resulted in my property taxes (which I pay online) being late for the FIRST time ever, and penalties for that cost as much as what two months of Frontier's (non) service would cost.

As of when this was written (offline) after close to a week of the Frontier outage, Frontier has shown no concern for the difficulty their LONG outage (described below) is causing, even though they had repeatedly been made aware of the importance and urgency of the situation, and that I was disabled. In fact, they would not even provide an estimate for when service would be restored. (Other than a promised time of restored service that they failed to meet three days into the outage.)

Therefore, if the long March 2024 outage by Frontier (which was still ongoing at the time this was composed offline), contributes significantly to not being able to physically get myself and the eclipse equipment to the 2024 total solar eclipse, it will have obviously prevented getting photos, video, and experiment results at the total eclipse. In that situation, a description of Frontier's actions will be a permanent part of this 2024 eclipse web page. (And now, after the fact, it is.)

This material is also included here because posting it is the only practical way to timely provide information for a consumer complaint that I can steer authorities toward, when the only way of communicating with them is by speaking on a Tracfone. (Ironically, filing complaints often requires Internet access, but part of a complaint would be about a long outage of Internet access!)

Nine Consecutive Days without Frontier Internet OR Land Line Phone:

It was only possible to upload this web page shortly after the Frontier outage because it was written offline. It was possible to upload a draft shortly after service was at long last restored, several hours short of NINE DAYS of outage. Internet service resumed just as I was about to briefly have limited Internet access via a third party. The Frontier outage lasted until 27 March.

My medical situation did not do well during the outage, possibly due to effects of a prescription. However, I could not communicate with a doctor's office about it via their online patient portal due to the Frontier Internet service outage. (Phone calls to them did not get a response.) Therefore, I eventually had to unilaterally stop taking the blood pressure prescription that I suspected was making my symptoms worse. (It appears that the prescription was causing weakness, but I am not back to where I was before I was put on it prior to the Frontier outage. I might have been able to go off of it sooner if I'd been able to reach my doctors via patient portals during Frontier's outage.)

A long outage of both Internet AND phone was and is a big deal for a disabled person who was not even up to driving to a nearby store during the outage. (There was not even a dial tone, so calling even 911 from my home phone was not possible.)

Details About the LONG Frontier Outage, and its Consequences:

Details about the LONG Frontier Outage and the hardship it has caused, and the complexity it continued to cause, follows. It will remain a permanent part of this journal because it DID prevent my being able to get to the 2024 total eclipse. And it is known with near certainty that I COULD have made it to the path of totality if the long Frontier outage had been at least 2-3 days shorter.

The extended Frontier outage also prevented ordering last minute items that my equipment tests had shown would be beneficial, and it prevented the above mentioned important matter of follow up on arranging transportation.

More importantly, the Frontier outage has held up specifying the final details on a grave marker for a late friend, as well as the above noted communicating with my own doctors via their patient portals, etc. There were a myriad of other things that the long Frontier outage also interfered with.

Due to years of being Power of Attorney for a (now late) incapacitated elderly friend, and having to deal with many contentious parties in the process, it had not been possible to complete preparations for the 2024 eclipse equipment very far in advance. And other aspects of the planned expedition were similarly affected.

In addition to this, my health was temporarily in a state where I was not expecting that I would be able to make the three day drive to the eclipse myself (as noted above). I had not by then found a way to travel with someone else, though I had begun writing communications related to that just before the Frontier outage.

Also, it was almost impossible to find and book a plane ticket without being able to go online or physically travel somewhere to arrange it (which I also could not do at the time). Also, I was not sure I was even physically up to traveling solo on a plane. And the eclipse setup was too large to take on a plane in carry on bags (not to mention needing a rollator walker with a seat to move baggage on at an airport), and I lacked large bags that could allow adequate space padding, not to mention that I could not ferry that many bags around myself, being handicapped and all.

Lack of Internet service also meant lack of email. And because I did not then have phone numbers or street addresses for the people I had communicated with by email, there was no way to look into a joint trip while Frontier's services for BOTH phone and Internet were not working.

The fact that telecommunications company has "an outage" isn't the problem. However, the fact that Frontier Communications had such a LONG outage of MULTIPLE services for MORE than a WEEK, and that they had no sense of urgency in disclosing or correcting the outage (even for a disabled customer), which was also due to their lines, WAS a problem.

Complacency of an Apparent Monopoly:

Verizon/Frontier appear to more or less have a MONOPOLY on the lines in my area, so they have tended to do what they please, without regard to customer needs (including the need to use online portals with my doctors, and the urgency of the eclipse), which they were repeatedly informed of.

When, after about four days of outage, Frontier was pressed on the matter of even estimating a date of restored service, the excuses they came up with defied even the imagination. Their nonsensical excuses are included below partly for the entertainment value.

When Frontier was first contacted (via my old Trac flip phone) on Tuesday, 19 March (right after I became aware that BOTH the phone and Internet had ceased working, which was about 12 hours after I found that Internet service stopped), they said they would have to send a person to my house. However, they said that it would be two more days before that person would arrive.

I had not contacted Frontier in the few hours after I noticed that the Internet service had gone out (when Internet was the only outage I was aware of) because Frontier's Internet service had always been unreliable. It has frequently cut out for several seconds to a few minutes at a time, several times each day, and outages lasting an hour or more had happened every now and then. So, initially, I thought it was just another (brief, but all too typical) Frontier Internet outage.

While on the subject of performance, the speed of Frontier Internet service was only a fraction of the speed they charged for, and it often struggled to stream even 720p video, with the video all too often pausing while "circle of death" spun in the middle of the screen. (I had been waiting for Starlink to become available in my area before making a switch away from Frontier.)

Frontier did some sort of remote check where they had me unplug both the phone and the router, and they then said that they thought it was their line. But they also emphasized that the issue might be with wiring in the house. However, they would not schedule a technician visit until two days later.

(The box that Frontier had installed outside the house lacked an accessible phone connector (as older phone boxes used to have). If it had not lacked this connector, I could have connected phone to where their box connects to the house, to determine whether lines in the house were involved.)

When I arranged the tech appointment, I repeatedly informed Frontier that I could see a text on my simple Trac flip phone, but that I could NOT SEND a text, due to the nature of the phone verses my condition. So what do they do? They sent a text that seemed to anticipate a text response.

So I called Frontier on my Tracfone to confirm the appointment, but it took FIVE attempts, each going in the same loop over and over, to get to where I could even address a service appointment.

But then their system showed a different appointment time, so I said "No" to confirming the new time. What did the Frontier system do? It thanked me for CONFIRMING the less appropriate appointment time - a time that I had NOT confirmed! So I had to repeat the procedure - to cancel the unwanted imposed appointment time - and reschedule the original appointment time. It took over an HOUR to do this via their quirky system - a system with no available people.

Then, later in the week, and a few MINUTES before the end of the time window for when the Frontier technician was supposed to come (and the close of business for their office) they sent a text saying that the problem is with their lines, that there is an OUTAGE in my area, and that there is no need for a technician to show up. But they provided no estimate for when it would be fixed.

Thus, it took Frontier THREE DAYS - just to figure out that they had an outage. An outage that I had informed them of over two days earlier.

So I called Frontier again to try and get an ETA on restored service. It took the better part of an hour (of Tracfone minutes I was paying for) to reach a real person. They then said that both the phone and Internet would be restored in 12 to 18 hours, which would correspond to no later than 9:00 on Friday morning, 22 March.

On Friday, 10:00 a.m. came and went, and there is still no phone or Internet service. Then noon came and went. And it is here that the plot thickens. And the nonsense that followed made me hope that my none of my pension funds were invested in Frontier:

On Friday afternoon, after almost FOUR days of outage, Frontier said that they had NO IDEA of when service would be restored. I reminded them of my disability, the doctor portal situation, the eclipse, and the travel difficulty situations that all made the matter more urgent, but they obviously did NOT care.

I demanded to talk to a supervisor or someone else in authority would have some answers, but the Frontier person REFUSED to connect me with anyone else for several minutes.

Finally, I was connected with someone who said they were a supervisor having a different name than the person I had just spoken with - but the voice sounded almost identical to the person I first spoke with.

And, the same people at Frontier (NONE of them appeared to be in the USA) REFUSED to connect me to anyone in the USA concerning the Frontier outage. (Frontier uses these people in other countries, so the fact that they did not connect me with anyone in the USA is on Frontier.)

There was no viable way to report this to Frontier (since these are the people you get when calling Frontier), so this web page may be the only way that the matter can be reported.

I only spoke with one person at Frontier who seemed to care at all (on 23 or 24 March), but he had no authority to do anything. He was in India, and he or those he knew remembered the 1995 total solar eclipse in India, so he seemed to understand the rarity of a total solar eclipse in a given country. He may have also been the first person to actually type in that I was disabled.

Frontier eventually claimed that the outage was caused by someone "stealing" a length of cable that had 13 twisted pairs of wire in it. (Possible, since it is Los Angeles, where theft has all but been decriminalized.) And here, things got more interesting:

Frontier Excuses - NOT Results! (They have to "Order" Equipment to Splice a Cable!)

Frontier said that they had to "order" the cable to be able to fix the problem, apparently meaning that Frontier did NOT have cable like this in any of their local facilities. (A telecom company that has NO appropriate spare cable on hand! Fancy that.)

AND, Frontier said that they had to "ORDER" the EQUIPMENT required to SPLICE the cable, meaning that they did NOT even have equipment to splice the WIRE cable! (I recorded this nonsense from Frontier. They say they record the calls, so because that makes it 2-party knowledge, is is legal to record them.) And they said it multiple times on multiple days.

I don't know if what Frontier said above is true, but my first impressions are that such excuses (having to "order" equipment to splice a cable, for example) were way out there.

To top it off, Frontier had NO estimate on when they might restore service. They would not even bound the time by saying it would be less than WEEKS (plural). So, all I could do was periodically pick up my phone to see if it had a dial tone.

At the time, I did not even have a way to get to a nearby store to acquire a hotspot with related service to fill in the gap. And Frontier repeatedly refused to provide a hotspot when asked. (Also, given the apparent monopoly, they said my area was not eligible for Frontier fiber service.)

One would think that a PHONE / INTERNET COMPANY would have the equipment needed to SPLICE a wire cable. We're talking about multiple conductor wire cable, not a fiber optic cable.

Given the above, I pity the poor soul who has Frontier as their only service for phone and Internet in the event of a natural disaster. If Frontier had to "order" the equipment to splice a WIRE cable, I can only imagine how much stuff they would have to "order" (and the related delays) in the event of widespread outages of either wired or fiber service that could follow a natural disaster.

Since California has earthquakes, I don't want to be one of those poor souls, so I will be looking for an alternative once the 2024 eclipse date passes, whether I make it there or not. Because of the apparent monopoly, there is no alternative for a land line, so the solution will have to be wireless.

Maybe they are not a true phone or telecommunication company? Maybe they sold off resources required to perform basic repair on phone lines, to make stocks perform better in the short term? (Sacrificing long term performance for short term gains seems increasingly common with publicly traded companies.) It is my impression that they may be little more than a line leaser, only re-selling use of existing phone lines, and adding their overhead and institutional inefficiency to the mix - while bringing nothing to the table that benefits the customer.


Of Monopolies, and the False Notion that Capitalism is the Same as Freedom:

Before Frontier provided phone and Internet service in this area, it was provided by Verizon. I was not a fan of Verizon, but at least Verizon's service (which presumably used the same lines, as Verizon then owned the lines) was more reliable than Frontier - in the years before Frontier took over here. (I did not choose Frontier. They just took over service in this area several years ago.)

When Verizon provided service here (essentially as a monopoly, since any other carrrier had to lease their lines), they did not honor their price for the first two years. (Their "reasons" were quite amusing: That their "Revenue Assurance Department" mandated that they violate their 2-year customer agreements in terms of pricing.)

Verizon had the same brief (seconds to minutes) outages that happened several times every day (which prevented downloading my webmail archive to a local email client). But the speed was occasionally a little better (could handle 720p video more often), and outages lasting for hours were less common. And they didn't have any outages that lasted entire days or weeks.

Either way, it is an argument against monopolies. And if even a regional company has a local monopoly and fails to perform, it should be broken up just like AT&T was in the 1980's. After a few years, lower prices and better service followed that breakup.

Either that, or Internet service should not be privatized at all. No essential service should be privatized as the only customer option. At the very least, non-privatized Internet service should be available to everyone, then those who want more bandwidth can go with private alternatives.

Had this been the case, Internet service would be more reliable, and I would have both made it to the path of totality and been able to interact with my doctors at a critical time, etc. Not to mention the greater benefit that increased Internet reliability would have for everyone else.

Even without the above telecommunications debacle: As noted earlier in this journal, it was the "Ethics Board" of a corporation (an HMO) that presumed to act as a death panel in regard to my late friend. They acted in a brazen manner, with an attitude that implied: "This is what we are going to do, and there is nothing that you, even as POA, can do about it!" If that doesn't reveal an attitude that there will be no corporate accountability, I don't know what does.

Unfettered capitalism that allows monopolies is not the same as freedom. We need only look at the censorship that corporations imposed in recent years to see the truth of this. Unfettered capitalism may even be a threat to freedom. Any case of power without accountability is a threat to freedom. And at the current time, there seems to be less accountability in corporations than in government.

Rant complete! Now, on to the 2024 eclipse goals and instrumentation!

Return to Local Table of Contents


Goals of the 2024 Eclipse Expedition:

Of the total solar eclipses I had a shot at seeing, the 8 April 2024 eclipse offered a longer duration of totality than any eclipse since 1991. A longer duration of totality makes it possible to spend more time observing the eclipse, as opposed to only operating equipment.

Also, the early afternoon time of the 2024 eclipse was a better fit to my circadian rhythm (which tended toward late shifts), and it may have a greater impact because it begins in what is normally the brightest part of the day. However, because the 2024 eclipse could potentially be my last, I wanted to accomplish certain things.

Goals of the 2024 eclipse included the following:

  • Allocate at least 50 seconds to observe the solar corona under magnification.
  • Observe and photograph umbra toward the east to NE during first minute of totality.
  • Obtain data for umbra projection altitude experiment, mostly from VR images.
  • Capture 360 degree panoramas at every 4.5 seconds, using Entaniya fisheye lens.
  • Capture 360 degree VR video encompassing totality, plus 2 minites before and 3-4 after.
  • Capture wide angle images of the eclipse over the horizon.
  • Capture wide angle video of the eclipse over the horizon throughout totality.
  • Capture a sequence image showing partial phases every 4 minutes, plus totality.
  • Capture range of solar corona exposures with both film and digital cameras.
  • Image earthshine on the moon during totality.
  • Capture video of solar corona in a range of image scales and exposures.
  • Determine (and image) maximum time before or after totality that lunar outline visible.
  • Measure and record data for light and temperature curves between 1c and 4c.
  • Take enough location video to provide background for an eclipse video.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Eclipse Instrumentation:

Images below include a drawing of the equipment that was envisioned (and completed) for the 8 April 2024 total solar eclipse. Photos (some of which are below; more to be added later) show the actual equipment in its completed state. Completing this setup required a lot of time and effort, not to mention cost and other aspects. Completing it was made a great deal more difficult by the fact that I had to take on being Power of Attorney for an incapacitated elderly friend for three years, starting in late 2020. That literally required almost all of my time and energy for those three years.

Only limited camera and lens testing was needed before the 2024 eclipse. This is because I had performed considerable camera and lens testing before the 2017 solar eclipse. For this reason, this web page does not include a dedicated lens test section. Instead, test results for the few lenses or telescopes that were tested in preparation for the 2024 eclipse have been added to the table of over 30 lenses and telescopes that were tested before the 2017 eclipse. These tests are in Appendix B of my combined 2017 total solar eclipse journal and photo page, at:
http://www.eclipsechaser.com/eclink/image/total17.htm#test

Drawing of Instrumentation for the 8 April, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse
Equipment proposed for the Total Solar Eclipse of 8 April, 2024, as envisioned in 2018, 2020, and 2024, and "as built" in time for the 2024 eclipse. Copyright 2018, 2020, 2023, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
This is a low resolution 640 pixel wide image. Click HERE for a larger image (1650 x 1200, 632 KB)

After the above eclipse setup was envisioned and partially implemented, I was thrust into being Power of Attorney (POA) for an elderly friend and Veteran who had no surviving family after he became incapacitated in late 2020. Even though his documents were in order, one financial institution and a few other businesses refused to honor them, leading to years of imposed vexatious complications in managing his affairs.

This stopped the 2024 eclipse preparations cold in 2020, and adversely impacted my health to an extent that I still had not recovered by the time of the 2024 eclipse. Therefore, I lacked stamina to drive to the eclipse myself, and could only go if I could find a driver for my van, or get a ride with someone who was going to the eclipse in another vehicle. Thus, even by early March of 2024, it was uncertain if I would be able to go to the 2024 total solar eclipse.

However, the eclipse setup shown above was completed and fully tested in time for the 8 April, 2024 eclipse.

Even though there had been no opportunity to resume significant work on the eclipse setup until early February 2024, that was just enough time to complete it, given my limited stamina to work on it or anything else for very long in any given week. But the same temporarily worse medical situation that prevented driving to the eclipse also influenced my ability to set up the eclipse instruments based on memory alone. Therefore, I had to make the drawing above to use in assembling the 2024 eclipse equipment. It shows the tripods and the locations for all cameras, as well as the channels used on the multi channel interval timer I had gradually built in 2017.

In case you missed the last section about why I could not get to the path of totality, here is a brief summary of a few relevant parts of it: In mid March 2024, just as I was working on arranging transportation to the eclipse, and within hours of when I was going to send related emails (that I had been composing off line in text files): My phone AND Internet service, BOTH provided by Frontier Communications, went down for NINE CONSECUTIVE DAYS. And the problem was with their lines. It had nothing to do with equipment or lines in the house.

This LONG Frontier outage delayed everything and prevented arranging transportation. It also imposed the need to try to make the few last minute items that I otherwise could have ordered online. (This took a LOT of time that otherwise would not have been lost.) Worse, Frontier had no sense of urgency about restoring service, even though the outage prevented even calling 911 from my land line, since there was no dial tone.

And, as it turned out, I WOULD certainly have had transportation to where my motel reservations were in the path of totality (and where it proved to be adequately clear during totality) if the Frontier outage had lasted 6-7 days or less instead of nine days. (The driver needed to give his employer that much more notice to get time off work. That was the only thing preventing the trip. This is why it is accurate to say the trip was effectively prevented by Frontier Communications.)

Even though Frontier was repeatedly made fully aware that I was disabled (via an old Trac flip phone I'd bought service for so I could use it on the trip), and of the urgency of the eclipse situation, and of the necessity of Internet service to communicate with my doctors via their patient portals, and with those who may be able to provide transportation to the total eclipse path, Frontier had no sense of urgency about restoring service, even after HOURS of talking with them on my TrakFone. It took them three days to even acknowledge that there was an outage.

Frontier first provided a false near term time for when service would be restored. Then, after they missed that date, and after 5 days of outage, they refused to even estimate a time. They apparently have a MONOPOLY on the lines here, and it shows. (Ah, the "pleasures" of monopolies that result from unfettered capitalism... Capitalism and freedom are very different things.) Worse, Frontier claimed that they did NOT have the wire cable needed to fix the problem, or equipment to splice a WIRE cable. They said they had to "order" these before service could be restored.

That made me wonder if they were a real phone or Internet company that actually owns the assets required to provide service. Given Frontier's stated need to "order", even basic things before service could be restored, I don't know how they'll cope with widespread outages after a natural disaster. If they can't, it makes a case for fostering competition in this area, for the safety of the population.


Photos and Descriptions of the 2024 Eclipse Instrumentation

The 2024 eclipse instrumentation is pictured below. Descriptions of its new features, plus a list of its major and minor assemblies, follow the overview photos below.

Photo of Instrumentation for the 8 April, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
Cameras and light meters, etc., set up for a practice run, six days before the 8 April, 2024 total solar eclipse.
From left to right, the tripods (which do not count the tripod for the gray telescope on the extreme left) are for:
- Corona Still Image and Ambient Light Measurement Assembly (3 cameras, as shown)
- Wide Angle and VR Imaging and Video Assembly (6 cameras). A condensed eclipse procedure is on the clipboard.
- Custom Multi Camera Controller and Interval Timer (blue box at bottom)
- Sequence Camera (1 camera)
- Corona Video Assembly (6 cameras)
- The large 250 degree Entaniya fisheye lenses at the top are used for the primary 360 degree imaging (instead of the motorized indexing panoramic platform I built in 1991) to eliminate the need to stitch separate images. However, the Corona Still Image tripod on the left has provision to add an elevated support for the panoramic platform.
- The blue 12-channel camera controller and interval timer box at the bottom is detailed in my 2017 eclipse web page.
- There was less space for staging before the 2024 eclipse because I had to store my incapacitated friend's stuff (such as the C8 on the left, which is not part of the eclipse setup) after his condo was sold for him to pay for his 24-hour care.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


New Features of the 2024 Eclipse Instrumentation

The 2024 eclipse instrumentation has several features that were not in my 2017 eclipse setup. Significant differences include:
  • More compact custom camera bars and brackets (smaller/lighter than commercial items)
  • Entaniya 250 degree fisheye lenses, each pointed up, for primary VR umbra imaging.
  • Complete elimination of all autofocus lenses (to prevent focus hunting).
  • Fujifilm X cameras (with marked shutter speed dials!) used where manual settings needed.
  • Compact visual telescope has 90 degree diagonal (not 45) for high solar elevation angle.
  • Ad Astra III and TeleVue 60 (with field flattener) telescopes used instead of camera lenses.
  • Run time remaining indicators added to Fornax LighTrack II mounts.
  • Custom compact wedge for tracking mount (smaller, lighter than Gitzo PL5 head)
  • Almost entire system operable from a single seated position (handicapped-accessible!)
  • Partial eclipse sequence series entirely automated via Fuji X-T10 internal interval timer.
  • Fully defined system, with little in the way of alternate or optional items.
  • Tripods are more compact, to fit more conventional size equipment cases.

Capabilities of the 2024 Eclipse Instrumentation

Capabities of the 2024 eclipse instrumentation were driven by the goals of the expeditiion.
  • From 2c-2 min. to 3c+4, automatically captures a 360 degree panorama every 5 seconds.
  • Redundant manually operated VR camera for backup on 360 degree panoramas.
  • Accepts elevated mount for motorized indexing panoramic plaform (for higher resolution).
  • From 2c-2 min. to 3C+4, captures 360 degree video (via 2nd Entaniya 250 deg. fisheye).
  • Full frame fisheye digital still pictures of sun (and eclipse) over horizon.
  • Full frame fisheye still pictures on film of sun (and eclipse) over horizon.
  • Additional full frame fisheye photos of areas of interest in any direction.
  • Full frame fisheye video of sun (and eclipse) over horizon (12-16mm equivalent FL).
  • Automated sequence image of all partial eclipse phases.
  • Three light meters, thermometer, clock, and camera for recording light curve, etc., data.
  • Corona photos (digital) at full frame equivalent focal length of 540mm.
  • Corona photos (on 35mm film) at focal length of 760mm.
  • Corona video at full frame equivalent focal lengths of 500-, 700, 750+, 1,250, & 3,000mm.
  • Small visual fisheye lens to observe lunar umbra.
  • Small visual telescope to observe solar corona while operating corona cameras.
  • 10x stabilized binoculars to observe solar corona.
  • Operable from a seated position, and otherwise compatible with my disabilities.
  • Includes equipment to image the night sky on days after eclipse.

Assemblies, Tripods, and Corresponding Camera Groups:

The 2024 eclipse instrumentation consists of three major assemblies and a few minor assemblies. Each assembly is on its own tripod.

Major assemblies include:

  • Corona Still Image and Ambient Light Measurement Assembly (3 to 5 cameras):
    • One corona digital camera and one corona film camera, both on Fornax mount.
    • Light meter camera, plus three light meters, clock, and thermometer.
    • Has provision for elevated mounting of motorized indexing panoramic platform.
  • Wide Angle and VR Imaging Assembly (6 cameras):
    • Two 250 degree Entaniya HAL fisheye lenses: One for 360 deg. stills, one for video.
    • Also includes three cameras for 180 degree still images, plus one for 180 deg. video.
  • Corona Video Assembly (6 cameras):
    • Cluster of three long FL video cameras on Fornax LighTrack II mount, plus:
    • Pentax Q with 500mm lens, for equivalent of 3,000mm FL on full frame.
    • Canon SX280, for wider corona video at equivalent of 500mm FL.
    • Ricoh Theta S with wired remote on tall post, for backup VR still images.
Minor Assemblies Include:
  • Sequence camera on separate tripod (uses its own internal interval timer).
  • Camera controller box on separate tripod, below wide angle assembly.
  • Optional separate tripod with tracker for Pentax Q and 500mm lens.


Wide Angle and VR Imaging and Video Assembly (2024)
© Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Wide Angle and VR Imaging and Video Assembly, 2024 (6 Cameras)

The Wide Angle Imaging and Video Assembly consists of Six cameras. Each camera and lens is briefly described in the caption below. The woman pictured in the background is Willma Alcocer, a former Primary School Director (Principal) at Colegio Buenas Nuevas in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The picture frame was a 1994 gift from (and was made by) Buenas Nuevas primary school staff and students. I met Willma on my 1994 eclipse expedition, but an aspiring (yet failed to this day) politician and his rich cronies interfered with everything on the trip, including the eclipse, imaging southern sky objects, appearing at her school, and time with her. (Details are in my 1994 eclipse journal.) Unfortunately, she passed away on 22 Aug., 2023, only two weeks before she was going to (legally) move to the USA. And the same failed politician allegedly contributed to her death.

Wide Angle and VR Imaging and Video Assembly for 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
- TOP LEFT: Entaniya 3.6mm f/2.8 (250 degree) fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T20 camera, for still images (one every 4.5 seconds) that cover the entire sky, the full 360 degree horizon, and down to 35 degrees below the horizon.
- TOP CENTER: Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens on Panasonic GX7, for video of the eclipse over the horizon. I was going to use an Olympus 8mm f/1.8 fisheye, but its lack of a manual focus switch or ring was a problem at the 2017 eclipse, and there was one occasion where it hunted for focus when the camera was set to manual focus during a practice run in 2024. Not wanting to be bitten twice, I eliminated the Olympus f/1.8 lens from the system.
- TOP RIGHT: Entaniya 3.0mm f/2.8 (250 degree) fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T20 camera, for 360 degree video.
- BOTTOM LEFT: Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T10, for still images of the eclipse over the horizon. This camera can also be panned toward the left, where I was expecting a good light show from the umbra during the first minute of totality. I had hoped to adapt a 7.5mm MFT lens to the APS format Fuji camera, to get more vertical coverage, but lacked a way to shorten the mount. (Mounts for the 7.5mm and 8mm have the same bolt pattern, but are not the right thickness to interchange directly.) I later found that RAF camera makes an MFT to FX adapter.
- BOTTOM CENTER: Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye lens on Panasonic GX7, for still photos of eclipse over horizon.
- BOTTOM RIGHT: Samyang 12mm f/2.8 full frame fisheye lens on Nikon N2020 camera, for still images on film of the eclipse over the horizon.
- BACKGROUND, lower right: 28mm manual focus lens and solar filter on Fujifilm X-E1, for an eclipse sequence. After this picture was taken, I decided to swap the Fuji X-E1 and the chrome Fuji X-T10 at bottom left. This made it possible to use the built-in interval timer of the X-T10 (which the X-E1 lacks) for the entire sequence.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Front View of Wide Angle/VR Assembly, also Showing some other Cameras/Instruments.
The pictured 8mm f/1.8 Olympus fisheye lens (top center) was still part of the system when this photo was taken.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Glass that Means Business: Two Entaniya 250 Degree HAL Fisheye Lenses.
The focal length of the left lens is 3.0mm. The diameter of its 250 degree image circle is 11.9mm, which is small enough to fit the height of a 16:9 video on APS format. The right lens has a focal length of 3.6mm. Its image circle is 14.25mm, for a larger image scale on APS format photos. Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Corona Still Image and Ambient Light Measurement Assembly (2024)
© Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Corona Still Image and Ambient Light Measurement Assembly (3 to 5 Cameras)

The Corona still image and ambient light measurement assembly conists of a telescope and digital camera to image both partial phases of the eclipse, plus prominences and the solar corona during totality; a telescope and film camera for photographing the corona, a small visual telescope, and a digital camera with a fisheye lens to capture video of an array of instruments that include three light meters (each set to a different light intensity range), a thermometer, and a clock - plus imaging the sun in the upper right corner of the background. The assembly also has provision to add an elevated support for the motorized indexing panoramic platform that I built in 1991 and used at all observed total solar eclipses since then.

Corona Still Image & Ambient Light Measurement Assembly, 2024 (Side View)
- LEFT: Array of light meters, plus a thermometer and a clock, to measure the ambient light intensity and temperature. The array includes two Sekonic meters (each set to a different range) and a Gossen Luna-Pro set to its low range. All meters are set to read incident light, as opposed to reflected. The Gossen meter is only used because it was used for measurements at all total solar eclipses I had observed since 1991.
UPPER CENTER: Olympus E-P3 camera with Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye lens, to capture 1080p video of the meter array, with the sun in the right background.
- NEXT TO LEFT: The small rectangular white object is an illuminator to illuminate the scales on the light meters during totality. The white incident light measurement domes on the meters are tipped away from the illuminator just enough to keep its light from biasing the readings.
- CENTER: Custom compact wedge that I designed and built for the Fornax tracking mount. The wedge also accommodates other mounts, including the Takahashi Teegul, the AstroTrac TT320x, and a variety of others.
- RIGHT: Cluster of telescopes and cameras on a Fornax LighTrack II tracking mount:
- Foreground: Ad Astra III telescope (78mm aperture, f/9.75) and Nikon N2020 film camera.
- Middle: Small telescope I made from a 300mm f/6.3 Rokinon lens. With the shown 18mm eyepiece, it provides a magnification of about 17x. The tiny 24.5mm diagonal is part of a compact afocal assembly I made in the 1980's that converted one side of my binoculars into a 40x telescope. (The other side of the binoculars was the finder scope!)
- Near Background: Televue 60 ED (60mm f/6) refractor telescope with Starizona EVO-FF field flattener and Fujifilm X-T10 digital camera. The 16MP X-T10 is used because it has fewer color artifacts around highlights than newer Fujifilm cameras that have more pixels. (Camera tests are in Appendix B of my 2017 total solar eclipse web page.)
- OTHER: The two dark post holders toward the lower left accept an elevated support for the motorized indexing panoramic platform I designed and built in 1991, and have used at total solar eclipses since then.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Corona Still Image & Ambient Light Measurement Assembly, 2024 (Operator View)
- This view better shows the light meter array (top) and the camera that images it (right). Telescopes in the foregroud all have solar filters attached. From left to right, the telescopes and associated cameras are once again:
- Ad Astra III telescope with Nikon N2020 camera.
- Compact telescope I made from a Nikon mount Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 mirror lens.
- TeleVue 60 ED telescope with Starizona EVO-FF field flattener and Fujifilm X-T10 camera.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.



Corona Video Assembly (2024)
© Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Corona Video Assembly (6 Cameras)

The Corona Video Assembly captures video of the solar corona and other features at a variety of image scales. The widest is the full frame equivalent of 500mm (and can be zoomed to a wider angle) and the narrowest field is the full frame equivalent of 3,000mm. The sequence camera in the upper left background is not part of this assembly. The metal post on the extreme right is part of a 28 inch tall elevated mount for a Ricoh Theta S VR camera.

Corona Video Assembly for 2024 Total Solar Eclipse (Operator-side View)
LEFT: Tamron 500mm f/8 mirror lens on Panasonic GX7 camera (1,250mm full-frame equivalent focal length).
NEXT TO LEFT: Panasonic HDC-SD1 Camcorder with Nikon 3x ED Converter on front (700mm equivalent).
CENTER (in photo): Nikon 300mm f/4 ED Nikkor lens on Olympus E-P3 camera (750mm equivalent F.L).
RIGHT: Nikon 500mm Reflex Nikkor-C lens on Pentax Q camera (3,000mm full-frame equivalent F.L!)
NOT VISIBLE: Canon SX280 (behind cameras), and Ricoh Theta S VR camera (on top of post at extreme right). Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Corona Video Assembly for 8 April, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse (Front View)
Since this is a front view, the apparent camera order is reversed:
TOP LEFT: Nikon 300mm f/4 ED Nikkor lens on Olympus E-P3 camera.
TOP CENTER: Panasonic HDC-SD1 Camcorder with Nikon 3x ED Converter on front.
TOP RIGHT: Tamron 500mm f/8 mirror lens on Panasonic GX7 camera.
BOTTOM LEFT: Nikon 500mm f/8 Reflex Nikkor-C mirror lens on Pentax Q camera.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Canon SX280 camera (zooms to 500mm full-frame equivalent focal length).
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Return to Local Table of Contents


Cameras and Meters, etc., for 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse
© Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Cameras and Meters, etc., for the 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.

Equipment for the 8 April 2024 total solar eclipse includes two telescopes (a vintage Ad Astra III Mak-Cass, and a TeleVue 60 refractor) for acquiring still images of the partial phases (and corona if I had been in the path of totality). The setup originally envisioned for 2024 used camera lenses instead of the small telescopes.

Cameras, Camera Controller, Meters., etc., for the 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
Even though this is considerably less equipment than what was used at the 2017 total solar eclipse, it required about the same amount of cases and volume as the 2017 setup. This is because many of the subassemblies (such as the array of light meters, and the wide angle camera bars with their ball heads) were left assembled for transport. This reduced the total time needed to unpack and set up to about an hour. This was done partly because weather prospects for the 2024 path of totality in the USA were not very good, and I wanted to be able to change sites (if necessary) as late as eclipse day.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Custom Camera, etc., Brackets for the 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
Custom Camera, etc., Brackets for 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
Most of the brackets toward the front of either side were made before the 2017 total solar eclipse. Most of the rest were made for the 2024 eclipse, being made in either late 2017, or in 2018, or 2024. The small 20mm LeapLumin ball heads (less than $20 each on Amazon, and shown on the central dual wide angle bracket) were more stable than some 25mm to 29mm ball heads I had previously tried, and there is no need for an Arca plate. For one of the tripods, the small custom wedge at lower left is used instead of a large Gitzo PL5 head, such as the one shown at lower right.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Equipment Packed and Ready for the 8 April, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
I also had hotel and site reservations. All that was missing was a ride to the path of totality!
Left: Equipment Packed and Ready for 8 April 2024 Total Eclipse. Right: Same, for 2017.
LEFT: Equipment for 2024 total solar eclipse. The 2024 eclipse equipment would fit in less space if each assembly was separated into its separate components. But it was packed as shown because this allowed several assemblies to be kept intact for the trip. This reduced set up time from several hours to less than one hour. The tripods all fit the black case toward the rear. (Tripods in the background are not part of the setup.) Most equipment was unpacked on the night of 7 April, in order to use some if it to image the partial solar eclipse, which is all I was going to see from Los Angeles.
RIGHT: Equipment packed for the 2017 total solar eclipse, for comparison. Most of the tripods used in 2017 were not short enough to fit in cases.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.



Specific Minor Assemblies or Components:

Pairing TeleVue 60 Telescope with Starizona EVO-FF V2 Field Flattener

The TeleVue 60 telescope produces excellent central images, but it has a lot of field curvature. Fortunately, the TV60 telescope can provide a reasonably flat field when used with the Starizona EVO-FF V2 field flattener. When the field flattener is used, the size of the Airy disk is only enlarged about 1.5 times, which is a negligible amount for wide field observing or imaging at f/6.

TeleVue 60 Telescope, with Accessories Including a Starizona EVO-FF V2 Field Flattener.
The 360mm focal length of the Televue 60 (60mm f/6) telescope is longer than the 250mm focal length for which the EVO-FF V2 field flattener was designed. However, the field flattener works reasonably well with the TV60 if the distance between its lenses and the focal plane is modified a little by using a short mirrorless camera T-ring with appropriate extension tubes. The accessories here facilitate using the flattener both visually and for photography.
- Just left of center (in the top row of accessories) is an assembly that includes a 1.25 inch T-adapter, a 28mm T2 (T-thread) extension tube, and the Starizona EVO-FF V2 field flattener.
- Immediately to the right is a T2 extension tube (having a 1.25 inch inside diameter with compression ring) and a short T-ring for Fuji X. This combination provides the right back focus distance for photography with the field flattener.
- To use the EVO-FF visually, the 28mm T2 extension tube is removed from the left assembly and screwed into the front of the right assembly. Then the EVO-FF is screwed directly into the front of the resulting stack of two T2 rings.
- The front of the EVO-FF is then inserted into a 1.25 inch eyepiece holder, and an eyepiece is used in the rear T2 ring. This only works for straight through imaging with the TeleVue 60, because the diagonal requires too much back focus to work with the field flattener (with its own required back focus) in its eyepiece holder.
- The shown eyepieces are a 7mm Type 1 Nagler (left) and a 4mm Plossl (right). In the center is a custom 1.8mm (equivalent) eyepiece I made decades ago, using a negative 9mm achromatic lens and a 9.7mm Plossl eyepiece.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


TeleVue 60 Telescope, in its case with all of the accessories pictured in the picture above.
Foam in the case was obviously modified from the factory configuration to accommodate the extra accessories. Most items are kept in plastic bags within the case for a little extra protection. The field flattener assembly is shown attached to the telescope in the "Last Minute Instrumentation Changes..." section below.
Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Moon at EDGE of APS frame, with TeleVue 60 Telescope and EVO-FF V2 Field Flattener.
Focus was set when the moon was in the center of the frame, then its image was moved off-axis for this heavily cropped photo. The optimum back focus distance with the TV60 differs slightly from the 55mm design back focus of the flattener. I have not yet star tested the combination. Copyright 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Custom Compact Wedge for Telescope Mounts and Star Trackers:

The custom compact wedge I designed made a significant difference in the weight of the system, and reduced setup time. Its envelope is not much larger than a 3 inch cube. A drawing of it, showing positions of the wedge plate for a range of different latitudes, is shown below. There was only time to build one wedge before the eclipse, while two would have been preferred.

Custom Compact Wedge for Takahashi Teegul, Fornax LighTrack II, and other mounts.
The prototype wedge was designed to screw directly onto the 3/8-16 threaded stud of a tripod.
- However, it was found to be more versatile if a 3/8-16 knurled head screw could be used to attach the wedge to a threaded plate in the eclipse assembly.
- For this reason (to prevent mechanical interference between the attachment screw and the screw that attaches a mount to the wedge plate) the shown design is about 1/8 inch taller than the original. This may be increased up to another 1/4 inch, to allow for larger knurled heads on either or both of the 3/8-16 screws.
- The wedge also accepts mounts with 1/4-20 threaded holes, and it has a built-in level attached to its base plate.
- The wedge design uses pairs of holes to accommodate different latitudes (as opposed to an adjustable tilting wedge plate) because the hole pairs are more stable and foolproof.
-- The angle settings are not exact when using hole pairs, but the tilt of the level can be adjusted to show level at exact latitudes that may differ from the wedge plate angle by up to 2 degrees.
- A spacer plate is used with the AstroTrac TT320x, to keep the wedge side plates from interfering with its polar alignment scope arm.
-- The final wedge plate will have an inverted U shape (as seen from its ends) to eliminate the need for a spacer plate.
- To save time, the wedge was just sketched to scale in PowerPoint, rather than making a normal dimension drawing.
Copyright 2023, 2024, Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.



Return to Local Table of Contents


Last Minute Instrumentation Changes to Accommodate Only a Partial Solar Eclipse

Late at night on Friday, 5 April, 2024, it became apparent that all options to get to the path of totality had either failed to materialize or had fallen through. This meant that a partial solar eclipse was all that I would be able to see, even though the path of totality was tantalizingly close, especially for a person who used to travel across the world to see a total solar eclipse.

Those of us who have witnessed a total solar eclipse tend to adopt a saying that: "If you've seen one partial [eclipse], you've seen them all.". That pretty much summed up my own attitude about partial solar eclipses, with the exception of that I wanted to see an annular eclipse.

I was unable to go to the annular eclipse in 2023 because of POA responsibilities for my (now late) friend, the fact that October was a critical time for him, and the fact that I had no energy for a trip at that time. The latter was partly because the responsibility used all of my reserves, and bereavement over the passing of Willma Alcocer in Bolivia took the rest of the wind out of me for months. My 3 Nov, 1994 total solar eclipse journal (also at this web site) describes who Willma Alcocer was.

After it became apparent that it would not be possible to go to the path of totality in April 2024, I decided to image the partial eclipse anyway, even though doing so would be very anticlimactic.

To add a little spice to the partial eclipse, I decided to use a Coronado PST to observe and image it in Hydrogen Alpha light that would reveal the same prominences that would have been visible during totality.

For those unfamiliar with a Coronado (now acquired by Meade) PST: The PST is a 40mm aperture, f/10 refractor telescope having a built-in narrow band Hydrogen Alpha filter with a center wavelength of about 656.28 nm. The front element of the PST has a coating that rejects a broad range of wavelengths that are well outside of the H-Alpha band, to reduce heating of other components inside the telescope. Well behind the objective lens (more than half way to the focal surface) is an etalon filter that can be tilted, for fine tuning the wavelength that is admitted. Behind that is a blocking filter that removes additional wavelengths, including harmonic bands passed by the etalon. The bandwidth (FWHM or greater extinction) of my PST is about 0.8 Angstroms.

In addition, I planned to take video in H-Alpha, to see if the moon would cover prominences before reaching the solar photosphere, or uncover prominences after uncovering the photosphere. It turned out that the moon did gradually cover a large triangular prominence before the partial phase of the eclipse, and then it uncovered two more prominences after the partial phase was over!

Since I was fairly tired and deflated from everything falling through, it took longer than usual to UNPACK the setup and then reconfigure it for a partial eclipse, while adding the Coronado PST to the mix. The final setup for the partial eclipse is pictured below, as set up outdoors for (what was for me) the 8 April 2024 partial solar eclipse.

While a very minor experiment, I also recreated circumstances under which the chrome corner of one of my rigid camera cases had reflected/formed a relatively large image of the partial phase of the 2017 solar eclipse on the ground shortly before totality. This was successful, except that the chrome parts of the case actually produced three small images of the sun, plus the one larger image. The nature of vegetation on the ground in Idaho may have accounted for why I only saw one of these solar images in 2017.

Equipment Set Up for the Total Partial Solar Eclipse in Texas Los Angeles, CA.
LEFT: Since I was stuck with having to see only a partial solar eclipse from Los Angeles (mainly because a long outage of Frontier Internet AND Phone service prevented arranging transportation to the path of totality in time), some of the equipment is different than what would have been used in Texas.
For example, there is no need for wide angle imaging to capture the umbra during a partial solar eclipse, but a Hydrogen-Alpha filter is useful. Also, when a partial eclipse is all that is being imaged, longer focal lengths can be used. From left to right, the equipment used here for the partial solar eclipse includes:
On the foreground tripod:
- Custom compact telescope I made from a 300mm f/6.3 Rokinon mirror lens, with a 58mm solar filter on the front.
- TeleVue 60 telescope with solar filter and Starizona EVO-FF field flattener on a Fujifilm X-T20 camera.
- Borg 76 ED telescope with 77mm solar filter, Borg 1.08x field flattener, and Nikon 1.4x tele-converter (for a 756mm focal length), on a Fujifilm X-T20 camera.
- All three of these telescopes are on a small Takahashi Teegul equatorial mount, which is in turn mounted on the compact wedge I designed. (Wedge is shown in the previous custom bracket photo, and in a drawing after that.)
- The Takahashi mount and Borg telescope were not going to be used for the total eclipse, because there had not been time to test the mount when this heavily loaded. However, it performed adequately during the partial eclipse. The mount can handle more weight than a standard one (without developing wobble like a standard one) because I added tapped holes that facilitate bolting the declination casting assembly directly to the other mount components.
On the Closest Tripod on the Right:
- Ad Astra III telescope and solar filter, configured for visual use.
- Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha telescope with 12mm eyepiece. The Fuji X-T10 camera used to take this picture can be interchanged with the eyepiece. I use a Barlow lens with the camera adapter to get enough back focus.
- Both of these telescopes are mounted on a Fornax LighTrack II mount. As the run time indicator I added to to the Fornax mount shows, the mount is very close to the end of its tracking time.
On the Right Background Tripod:
Fujifilm X-T10 with 28mm manual focus lens and solar filter, for eclipse sequence imaging via its internal interval timer.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Return to Local Table of Contents


2024 Total Partial Solar Eclipse Images: Partial Phases, H-Alpha, etc.:

Images of 8 April, 2024 Total Partial Solar Eclipse.
© Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
3D Stereo Image of Maximum Eclipse during the 2024 partial solar eclipse in L.A.
The 3D stereo effect is caused by the moon moving toward one side (relative to the sun) between the time each picture was taken. The pictures were taken two minutes apart. Both images were taken with a Borg 76ED telescope with a Borg 1.08x field flattener and Nikon 1.4x tele-converter (for a 756mm focal length), on a Fujifilm X-T20 camera. Exposure is 1/500 sec. at f/10, ISO 800.
- To see the images in 3D, cross your eyes until the solar images merge, while trying to keep them in focus. (Counting what is in peripheral vision, when the photos are properly merged, there may appear to be three images, with the center one having the apparent 3D effect.) Not everyone is able to see the 3D effect, but it is usually easiest when the photos are viewed from a distance of more than four times the displayed width of the image pair. To reduce risk of eye strain (and headache), it is best to only attempt to see the images in 3D for up to 30 seconds per day during the first few days, then for up to a minute on later days. Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Close-Up Stereo Image of Maximum Eclipse during the 2024 partial solar eclipse in L.A.
Here, the moon moved relative to the pictured sunspot group. These images are cropped from the above wider field photos. The images are more or less oriented to have celestial northwest (rather than celestial north) at the top. This is done so the moon's apparent motion in front of the sun will be from right to left, as opposed to an odd angle. (In other words, the moon did not appear to move purely in a celestial west to east direction at this eclipse.) This is because:
A.) Compared to geographical east and west on the earth, the total eclipse path across the USA runs more from the southwest toward the northeast. The same is true of the moon's motion in regard to celestial east and west.
B.) This is mostly due to three attributes of the 8 April eclipse:
1. The eclipse occurred near the time of spring equinox. Therefore, as seen from the sun, earth's axis was tilted almost 23.5 degrees clockwise with respect to a direction perpendicular to its orbital plane. (Another way of putting it is: At the solar position on 8 April, the ecliptic is tilted with respect to east-west by the corresponding angle.)
2. The eclipse occurred on the ascending node, or when the moon was crossing the plane of earth's orbit from the south toward the north. This adds another 5.145 degrees to the angle.
3. Lastly, in the central part of the total eclipse path, earth's rotation tends to follow the west to east component of the moon's motion. This slows down the west to east speed of the lunar umbra at the earth's surface, without slowing the north to south component as much. This causes the eclipse path to depart even farther from a west to east direction.
C.) All of the above has a similar effect of the apparent direction that the moon moves in relation to the sun in a partial eclipse. This happens to a degree with most solar eclipses, but it was fairly pronounced for the 8 April 2024 eclipse.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Hydrogen-Alpha Images of Moon Covering and Uncovering Prominences:
The moon covers a prominence immediately before the 2024 partial solar eclipse in L.A.
TOP: This prominent (pun intended) triangular prominence was obvious to those in the path of totality. The prominence looks bright because it was near the sweet spot in the Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha telescope used to take this photo. Unfortunately, I centered the sun during the sequence that follows, and that made the prominences look dimmer. (However, if the dim prominence images are later stacked with the brigher prominence image and used as masks, it may provide a brigher result.)
SECOND: The outer part of the triangular prominence is just beginning to be covered by the moon.
THIRD: The moon covers more of the prominence before it begins to eclipse the solar photosphere.
LAST: The moon begins to eclipse the solar photosphere after it has fully covered the large triangular prominence.
Images were taken with a Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha telescope, a Barlow lens, and a Fuji X-T10 camera. The top image is cropped from a still image. The next three images are cropped screen shots from my video. The video shows (dimly imaged) prominences being covered in real time. Prominences in this series were not in the "sweet spot" of my PST (this is particularly true for the third image), so they look fairly dim in these photos. The prominences and solar limb are in the sweet spot for the next set of images, below. Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


The moon uncovers prominences immediately after the end of the 2024 partial solar eclipse.
LEFT: The moon begins to uncover a prominence just above the center of the image.
CENTER: The moon uncovers more of the central prominence, and begins to uncover a second prominence above it.
RIGHT: As the moon continued to move toward the left, both prominences became completely uncovered.
Images were taken with a Coronado PST H-Alpha telescope, a Barlow lens, and a Fuji X-T10 camera. The original is a video, so it shows prominences being uncovered in real time. Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.



2024 Total Partial Solar Eclipse Images: Partial Phases, H-Alpha, etc. (Sequence)

Place Holder for 2024 (Partial) Solar Eclipse Sequence Photo.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.



Solar Eclipse Images Formed by Chrome Corner of Accessory Case.

Solar Eclipse Images Formed by Chrome Corner of Accessory Case in 2017 and 2024.
LEFT: When the sun was close to 85 percent eclipsed at the 2017 total solar eclipse (about 16 minutes before totality), a relatively large image of the crescent sun appeared on the ground. It was three or four times larger than an image that would result from pinhole projection from the most distant part of my equipment. There was also a bright spot at the location that would correspond to the center of the sun if it had not been eclipsed. Some time after the 2017 eclipse, I determined that it must have formed by the chrome corner on the black accessory case on the table to the upper left. Later tests showed that it appeared to form a similarly sized image of the un-eclipsed sun under similar conditions. However, the formation of a crescent image could not really be verified in the absence of another solar eclipse.
RIGHT: During the 8 April, 2024 solar eclipse, I replicated circumstances from 2017, to the extent possible with the higher 2024 solar elevation angle. Results from the 2024 eclipse (as seen from L.A.) near maximum eclipse, are in the right image. The background image shows the case on the right and the projection surface on the left. The center inset image is a larger photo of the projection surface. The case actually forms three small solar images and one large one. The lower two of the smaller images would not have been seen in 2017, because the table masked the lower fittings on the case. Toward the top of the 2024 projection surface, the case projected the eclipse as two small images, with a larger image surrounding the upper of these. However, in the large image, the center of the wide crescent is projected more dimly than its cusps. This dimmer area would not have influenced the 2017 image, because the 2017 crescent would have been oriented almost 180 degrees from this one, after accounting for the solar position angles that were eclipsed.
Copyright 2017, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Return to Local Table of Contents


Appendix A: 2024 Total Eclipse Image, Video, Data Acquisition Procedure (Timeline):


As for previous total solar eclipses, it was useful to develop a procedure that can be rehearsed before the eclipse, then used at the eclipse. This increases the number of cameras and instruments that it is practical to use. A draft outline of the part of my 2024 eclipse procedure that was for use at the total solar eclipse site on eclipse day is shown below. To save time when making camera settings, digital cameras that lack dedicated shutter speed and aperture dials are set to 1 EV steps, where possible.

The procedure below is unique to equipment I use, but it illustrates the details that must be considered when preparing for a short duration event that does not offer a second chance to get things right. If a camera or instrument fails during the eclipse, it is dropped from the procedure. There is no time to fix gadgets at a total solar eclipse! Shown times are for a notional site near the McLane Stadium parking lot in Waco, TX.

On 4 April, the observing site was changed to a grassy area east of the motel (after permission was granted to use it), but the times were not edited because contact time differences between there and the stadium were minimal.


Jeffrey R. Charles - 2024 Eclipse Image/Data Acquisition Procedure (Timeline) v240313, r0403
(Indentation has general first, then indentation increases with focal length.)  PAGE 1 of 2.

MDT	Event 
Time:	Based Time:	Process or Event:

00:00	2c -1 Day	Verify cam. menu settings (PwrM 5+m), cam. clocks, atomic clock, WWV.
			Verify all batteries charged/installed; film loaded in cameras, etc.
			Verify cameras write to cards. Use new mem. if nec. Take test photos.

00:00	2c -2:28:00 G: Arrive On Site (LATEST advised time unless pre-assembled)(1c-1h 20m)
00:00	2c -1:38:00 G: OPTIONAL Video/narration of setup when adeq. assemb.	(1c-20m)
00:00	2c -1:33:00  M: Take/video first light meter readings (both meter types) (1c-15m)
00:00	2c- 1:28:00      C: OPTIONAL: START H-Alpha video (1c- 8m, if use EP3) (1c-11m)

00:00	2c -1:30:00     S: START internal sequence timer (1/2m >6m bef. 1st contact) (1c-9m)
00:00	2c -1:30:00     S: Verify sequence pix captured (internal timer) (view in cam)(1c-8m)
00:00	2c -1:25:00      C: START Fornax video/still camera trackers, verify tracking (1c-6m)
00:00	2c -1:22:00      C: Still photo of full sun (over 3 m before 1st contact) (1c-4m)
00:00	2c -1:20:00      C: Start long focal length VIDEO cameras (1 m bef. 1c) (1c-2m)

00:00	2c -1:18:00 FIRST CONTACT! 00:00:00				(1c)
00:00	2c -1:18:00      C: Observe early part of ingress.	* (TAPE focus rings)
00:00	2c -1:18:00      C: Take a few ingress photos in first 1-2 minutes
00:00	2c -1:16:00      C: OPTIONAL: Stop H-Alpha video (1-2 min. after 1c)
00:00	2c -1:14:00      C: STOP long focal length video cameras (2-4 min. after 1c)

00:00  2c -1:12:00  M: Take short video 2nd light meter readings (both meter types) (1c+6m)
00:00  2c -1:10:00    W: Take first wide angle photos (light curve backup); Turn OFF WA cams.
00:00  2c -1:05:00 G: Take more (or START) narrated video of setup.
00:00  2c -0:55:00 G: TEST INTERVAL TIMER for 1 MIN, verify multiple photos captured.
00:00  2c -0:43:00      C: RESET Fornax Trackers and re-center sun in cameras.	(1c+35m)
00:00  2c -0:35:00  M: Take 3rd still/video of light meter rdgs (both meter types), narrate.

00:00  2c -0:30:00     S: REPLACE battery in camera(s) used for sequence.
00:00  2c -0:25:00   V: Take 1st 250 deg. photos (AUTO Exp, -1 Exp. Cmp) + short 250 d. vid.
00:00  2c -0:20:00 G: Check status of all cameras, incl. internal sequence interval timer.
00:00  2c -0:15:00  M: TURN ON all METERS, START Light Meter VIDEO (tmout 3c +10:30)
00:00  2c -0:12:00      C: Check sun centering in cameras, re-point as needed; acct f/drift.
00:00  2c -0:08:00 G: TURN ON ALL cameras that are not already on (requires 55 seconds)

00:00  2c -0:07:00   V: Second 250 deg. photo.  * 2c -0:06:30 Set Nik. N2020/12mm ISO to 250.
00:00  2c -0:05:30   V: Third 250 deg. photo, START 360 (250 fisheye) video.
00:00  2c -0:05:00    W: START & VERIFY ALL wide angle VIDEO cameras (timeout 3c+5.5)
00:00  2c -0:04:30   V: Fifth 250 deg. (F/2.8, ISO 200) photo (shutter speed: 1/125)
00:00  2c -0:04:00    W: START 180/250 deg. fisheye INTERVAL TIMER box (4.5 sec/photo)
00:00  2c -0:03:30      C: Briefly remove 250/300mm video / TV60 solar filters (corona check)
			Turn Page (Next step is Start 250 deg. Video at 2C -0:03:00)

Jeffrey R. Charles - 2024 Eclipse Image/Data Acquisition Procedure (Timeline) v240313, r0403
(Indentation has general first, then indentation increases with focal length.)  PAGE 2 of 2.

MDT	Event 
Time:	Based Time:	Process or Event:

00:00  2c -0:03:00   V: START 250 deg. VIDEO (IF 1080p; do at -2:30 if 4k) (timeout 3c+7.5)
00:00  2c -0:02:30   V: SET 250 deg. STILL shutter speed to 1/60. (IF NOT on AUTO)
00:00  2c -0:02:15      C: START and VERIFY all CORONA VIDEO.
00:00  2c -0:01:30   V: SET 250 deg. still shutter speed to 1/30 (or leave on AUTO if zoned)
00:00  2c -0:01:00   V: SET 250 deg. still shutter speed to 1/15 (or leave on AUTO)

00:00  2c -0:00:45      C: REMOVE first SOLAR FILTER (Ord: Seq. N2020, EP3, Camc, T500, rem)
00:00  2c -0:00:20      C: REMOVE last solar filter
00:00  2c -0:00:15      C: Set TeleVue 60 camera (Fuji X-T10a) shutter to 1/2000.
00:00  2c -0:00:10   V: SET 250 deg. still shutter speed to 1/2 or 1/4 (leave AUTO if zoned)

00:00  2c  2C      SECOND CONTACT! - TOTALITY (13:38:01, Waco)  LOOK at it!
00:00  2c +0:00:05   V: SET 250 deg. still shutter speed to 1 sec.
00:00  2c +0:00:10      C: Set TeleVue 60 camera (f/6) Fuji shutter to 1/2000, then 2~4 sec.
00:00  2c +0:00:45      C: Set Ad-Astra (f/10) Nikon shutter to 1/125, then 1~2 s.
00:00  2c +0:01:25   V: Various stuff (Ricoh Theta S pix, if not auto, etc.
00:00  2c +0:02:00      C: Corona Series, up to 4 sec. w/TV60, 1x EIGHT SEC. w/AdAstra
00:00  2c +0:03:30    V: Look for UMBRA boundary in all directions, image w/east 180 fisheye.
00:00  2c +0:04:00      C: Set TeleVue 60 shutter to 1/30 or 1/60 (for diamond ring).
00:00  2c +0:00:00 G: LOOK at CORONA in scope and/or binoculars to 11:32:14 (3c-15s)
00:00  2c +0:00:00 (3c -00:15) [Set long FL corona cam shutter speed to 1/250?]
00:00  2c +0:00:00 (3c -00:11) Set pano/all sky shutters to 1/2 sec. (Optional)
00:00  2c +0:00:00 (3c -00:05) LOOK at eclipse for third contact.

00:00  3c  3C      THIRD CONTACT! 00:00:00  LOOK! (13:42:12, Waco)
00:00  3c +0:00:00 Set pano/all sky shutters to 1/4 (or 1/8)(if not prev.)(or put on AUTO).
00:00  3c +0:00:00 REPLACE solar filters on video cameras, then still cameras.
00:00  3c +0:00:00 Set pano/all sky shutters to 1/8 sec. (or use AUTO if not set already).
00:00  3c +0:00:40   V: Look for UMBRA boundary in all directions, image w/east 180 fisheye.
00:00  3c +0:01:15      C: OPT: Briefly rem. 250/300mm / TV 60 solar filters, corona check)
00:00  2c +0:02:00      C: Briefly rem. 250/300mm / TV 60 solar filt, 1/1000 corona check)
00:00  3c +0:02:30      C: Briefly rem. TeleVue 60 / Ad Astra solar filt, 1/2000 corona ck)
00:00  2c +0:03:00      C: Briefly rem. 250/300mm solar filter, corona check)
00:00  3c +0:03:30      C: Briefly rem. TeleVue 60 / Ad Astra solar filt, 1/4000 corona ck)
00:00  3c +0:04:30 G: STOP all video cameras.
00:00  2c +0:06:00  M: Photo/video of light meter readings (both types) * & at +10, 20m.

15:00:43   4C	   FOURTH CONTACT! (3C+1:18:00) 15:00:43 (Waco) Observe and time it!
15:00:52 4c+0:00:09     C: View sun in H-Alpha, image if moon vis. against prominence.
15:06:00 4c +0:05:17  M: Take final meter pix. 
15:08:00 4c +0:07:17 Take any missed setup pix/video, dismantle, pack, leave site.
15:15:43	      G: END Procedure (sans re-pack, copy photos from mem. cards, etc.)

Stats / Times of 8 April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, by (Texas) City or Area:
City:	 Lat.   Long. T Az. TElev  Width   1 Con.    2 Con.    T Dur. 3 Con.	4 Con.
Leakey	
Uvald.	29.21  98.79  174.0  68.0  120 mi  12:12:12  13:29:40  4:16   13:33:56	14:53:20
Comf.	29.97  98.91  178.0  68.0  120 mi	     13:28:07  4:14 ? 13:
Kerv.					   12:14:40  13:32:04  4:24   13:36.28	14:55:30
Waco	31.55  97.15  186.0  66.0	   12:20:30  13:38:01  4:11   13:42:12	15:00:43
S.Dal.	32.78	      188.0		   12:23:18  13:40:43  3:52   13:34:35	15:02:42
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Appendix B: Comparing My Total Solar Eclipse Instrumentation and Results (1979 to 2024):


CONTENTS of Appendix B (scroll to each subject):
  • Background (brief summary of each total solar eclipse expedition)
  • Equipment for (and Results from) Total Solar Eclipse of 26 Feb. 1979.
  • Equipment for (and Results from) Total Solar Eclipse of 11 Jul. 1991.
  • Equipment for (and Results from) Total Solar Eclipse of 03 Nov. 1994.
  • Equipment for (and Results from) Total Solar Eclipse of 24 Oct. 1995.
  • Equipment for (and Results from) Total Solar Eclipse of 21 Aug. 2017.
  • Equipment for (NO Results from) Total Solar Eclipse of 08 Apr. 2024.
  • Equipment for a Future (foreign) Total Solar Eclipse?
Background (brief summary of each eclipse expedition):

Between the time of my first total solar eclipse in 1979 and the present time, there have been limitations on the scope and type of equipment I could use at a total solar eclipse. At first, and then again in the late 1990's, the main limitation was financial. In the mid 1990's, the main limitation was that work obligations limited how much time was available to prepare. In later years, health became the main limitation.

As more total solar eclipses were observed over time, the aspects of each eclipse I wanted to emphasize began to take shape. As the emphasis of what I wanted to accomplish changed, and as the amount of time and funds that could be budgeted for eclipse instruments varied, there were of course corresponding changes in the instrumentation that was actually used.

This chapter starts with an overview of each eclipse trip (see my eclipse journals at this web site for details), then specific descriptions of each eclipse setup follows. Only a few of the equipment descriptions have photos thus far, but it is envisioned that more photos will be added over time.

1979:

My first total solar eclipse was in 1979. Since I had not seen a total eclipse before, I did not know what to expect. The emphasis of all material I could find was on observing and imaging the corona, but my own thoughts were that it should be possible to see the boundary moon's shadow (or umbra) at certain times near or during a totality, though I then had no idea what this would look like. I decided to use the 16mm Minolta Rollor-X fisheye lens that I already had to image what could be seen of the lunar umbra.

Because I was not very well off financially in 1979 (my job at the time paid only $3.50 per hour), the equipment used for the 1979 total solar eclipse had to be more or less limited to what I already had. The sole exceptions were that I rented a 300mm f/4.5 pre-set lens from a pawn shop to use at the 1979 eclipse, and I acquired two tripods at a garage sale.

At the 1979 eclipse, the light show put on by the leading edge of the umbra was a sight to behold, and I have never seen anything else like it to this day. Less than half a minute into totality, it was possible to see the leading edge of the umbra move away toward the east and northeast in real time, with yellow, orange, and red color appearing low in the sky ahead of it. At one point closer to mid totality, I could even see distant high clouds that were still in sunlight - through the umbra, at an elevation angle well above the local projection of the umbra's boundary onto cirrus clouds.

From then on, I decided to take wide angle photos at any total solar eclipse I could get to, with the goal of taking multiple 360 degree panoramas before, during, and after totality. One goal of taking such panoramas was to use them in developing a way to forecast (and even simulate or reproduce) where the boundary of the umbra appears most impressive, or where the strongest color outside of the umbra boundary will be located. One paper at this web site (titled "Predicting the Appearance of the Lunar Umbra at Future Total Solar Eclipses") is based on my early work in this area.

Moderately high thin clouds were present during the 1979 eclipse, but a little less than a solar radius of corona was visible through them. The local clouds provided a good "projection screen" for the edge of the lunar umbra, and for the first minute after second contact, motion of the leading edge of the umbra could be observed in real time.

It was not possible to go to another total solar eclipse until 1991, mainly because finances did not permit it. And the inability to get health insurance while self employed (due to "preexisting conditions") was the main reason that finances were scarce during that time.

1991:

In 1991, finances still prevented purchasing equipment specifically for the eclipse, but I was able to make and modify things in my machine shop at relatively low cost.

One of the things I modified was the tube of my 94mm f/7 refractor telescope. The tube, front cell, dewcap, and focuser were all modified to implement a retractable dewcap, and to reduce the tube length by about 4 cm. This made it short enough to transport while fully assembled, even in relatively conservative 20 inch long carry on luggage. It also made the telescope more versatile, since this provided more back focus distance behind the telescoping focuser drawtube.

The most significant thing I built was a one-of-a-kind motorized indexing panoramic platform that facilitated taking 360 degree panoramas simply by alternately pushing two buttons. It could capture 360 degree panoramas in 2, 3, 4, or even 6 or more shots, depending on the lens used.

The 1991 eclipse was the only total eclipse at which I was clouded out. However, if annular eclipses are counted, I was also clouded out at the 4 January 1992 annular eclipse. At both eclipses, the view of the sun was clear until less than 45 minutes before maximum eclipse. In 1991, low clouds over the mountains moved toward the shore in Mazatlan and thickened. On later days, clouds over the mountains had a tendency to do similar things toward early evening.

1994:

For the 3 Nov. 1994 total solar eclipse, finances were not really a problem, but time to work on eclipse instruments was scarce. So for the most part, existing equipment had to be used again. This increased the amount of luggage that had to be transported.

However, because I began preparing for the eclipse over a year in advance, it was possible to invest over 100 hours in preparation. A good part of this time went toward developing a workable procedure, lightening my equipment, and simplifyng its operation.

Among other things, it was possible to design and build a pulsed stepping motor clock drive for my Aus-Jena German equatorial mount (GEM) that ran on a 9-volt battery, and this reduced the weight of what had to be transported by about 7 pounds (a little over 3 kg). More importantly, the stepping motor drive facilitated running the drive in reverse, so the mount could be used in the southern hemisphere.

In addition, commutators were added to the panoramic camera platform, so the camera could be fired without having to configure a coiled wire before each roll of film. The Vernonscope 94mm telescope was also modified to have an iris diaphragm, though the purpose of adding this was unrelated to the eclipse.

As for the expedition itself, the 1994 trip to Bolivia was the most traumatic eclipse expedition I ever experienced, if not the most traumatic trip of any kind I ever experienced. Possibly for that reason, it was the last SOLO expedition to another country that I ever attempted. The source of the problem was an aspiring yet failed far-right Bolivian politician and his rich buddies. They coerced me to do things for them and lived down to every stereotype about South American politics.

Within hours of arriving in Bolivia, and without any advance noitce, these people demanded that I speak at over a dozen schools for rich children, plus some universities (mostly before the eclipse), presumably so the failed politician could take credit for (supposedly) "arranging" for me to speak at them. (This may have backfired on them, because they did not allow time for much needed rest after I arrived, and I became so ill [see below] that my presentations were quite boring.)

The failed politician's brother had run in the 1993 Bolivian Presidential election, and come in 6th place. (See results of the "1993 Bolivian general election" on Wikipedia for his name.) Then the failed politician got it in his head that he would run for President in a later election, even though he could not govern his way out of a paper bag. In the end, he never did run for President.

And there was more to the politics: One of the other men involved in coercing me had long been the friend of a man who later became Vice President of Bolivia. But this Vice President was not far-right like the failed politician. In fact, decades later, this Vice President was deposed in the coup of 10 Nov. 2019. A coup that was perpetrated by people with ideologies similar to those of the failed far-right politician.

In 1994, I became so ill from the sleep deprivation, stress, and exhaustion that was imposed by the demands of those men that my pelvic floor muscles gave out early in the trip, causing a prolapse problem to become a lot worse. Major surgery was required after the trip to correct that aspect of the problem.

But I also encountered one of the most extraordinary (in a good way) people I ever met on the same trip. She was the director (principal) at a primary school attended mostly by poor students.

And (of course) the failed politcian, and the rich men he knew, were opposed to her and her work. Before I left the USA, her school had asked me if I'd speak there, but the Politician and his rich buddies wanted to prevent me from speaking at schools attended by poor or indigenous children, and especially at her school (Colegio Buenas Nuevas). It was a trip of contrasts. (Sadly, the same failed politician made things difficult for this school director in later years.)

1995:

In 1995, being laid off from my job on 23 June meant that the prospect of finances being an issue was once again on the horizon. However, it was still possible to see the 1995 eclipse, due to an extraordinarly low cost trip to Thailand that was unrelated to the eclipse.

It was also possible to reduce the volume and weight of the equipment to an extent that it would fit into two carry on bags. Being able to modify existing parts, or machine custom parts, is what helped make the paired back system as small as it was.

Instead of a telescope, I used a 300mm f/4.5 ED Nikkor lens with a 2x Barlow lens. (Details are in the 1995 eclipse equipment section below.) This did not provide as good an image as the 94mm f/7 telescope, but it was small and light enough that the 1995 eclipse setup fit into carry on bags.

Also, I added a variable timing circuit and relays to the panoramic platform control box, to automate most aspects of its operation. The circuit also had an auxiliary output that was used to fire the corona camera at a time when the panoramic camera platform was not rotating (and thus vibrating the tripod). This equipment was used at the 24 Oct. 1995 total solar eclipse in Thailand.

The 1995 trip was the most trouble free and successful eclipse expedition I ever experienced. It was the same for the late Pierre-y Schwaar, who had accompanied me to the 1995 eclipse.

After 1995, it was not possible to see another eclipse until 2017. This is mainly because finances prevented international travel between 1995 and about 2003, and a combination of health and work obligations prevented long distance travel after mid 2001.

2017:

It was possible to observe the 21 Aug. 2017 total solar eclipse only because the path of totality was in my home country. For the 2017 eclipse, it appeared that there would be both time and finances to work on a good set of eclipse instruments. This appeared to be the case even though my health was an issue, in that I lacked the stamina to work on it more than a few hours each month. But I had about 12 months of this sparse monthly time to prepare equipment for the 2017 eclipse.

However, late June 2017 coincided with when I needed to begin to acquire Medicare Supplement health insurance. The State mandated that carriers must provide guaranteed issue to anyone in my situation, but the reality was that I got multiple disqualification letters from insurance companies, UNTIL I contacted the State Commissioner of Insurance about the matter. This health isurance problem continued until almost mid August.

Five weeks of this fighting with health insurance companies (to try to obtain health insurance that was supposed to be guaranteed issue) prevented completing the 2017 eclipse instrumentation, and imposed the need to leave several days later than planned for the eclipse. This in turn rushed my travel to the eclipse site.

The result was that I was very ill during the 2017 eclipse, and unable to operate any of my equipment even close to as well as I had been able to in practice runs I had performed at home.

The 2017 eclipse was the high point in the number of cameras that were utilized (or that were intended to be utilized). But it was also the low point in terms of successful use of the equipment.

2024:

During the three years and four months before the 8 April, 2024 total solar eclipse, responsibilities related to being Power of Attorney for an elderly friend prevented eclipse preparations. After this began to wind down in early February of 2024, it appeared that it would (barely) be possible to complete the instrumentation in time for the 2024 eclipse, and it was in fact completed in time.

However, a long outage of Phone AND Internet service by Frontier communications (from mid through late March 2024) prevented putting the trip together in time. After the end of the long Frontier outage, I was able to arrange both lodging and an eclipse site, but not the transportation.

And it is CERTAIN that I could/would have made it to the 2024 eclipse IF the Frontier outage had not happened, or if it had been substantially shorter than the NINE consecutive days that it lasted. This is known because the sole deciding factor was how much advance notice the driver had to give to his employer to get time off work in time for the eclipse trip.

The 2024 eclipse setup was the best one, partly because it was the most defined, because most of the bugs had been worked out, because (in comparison to its functionality) it was fairly easy to set up and use, because a good part of its operation was automated, and because it had some redundancy for the most important functions.


Descriptions, Drawings, and Photos of 1979-2024 Eclipse Equipment:

Over time, the following descriptions of each eclipse setup may be expanded, and a drawing of each setup will be added. In cases where I can get access to equipment that can be used to emulate each setup, such equipment will be assembled and photographed in front of a uniform background, to show what each setup looked like in real life. (This will be clearer than existing on-site photos.)

The individual web pages for each eclipse do not currently have as much detail about equipment as what is shown below. Therefore, it is envisioned that appropriate equipment information below will eventually be added to each of the corresponding eclipse web pages.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Equipment for the 26 February, 1979 Total Solar Eclipse:

The equipment used for the 26 Feb. 1979 total solar eclipse had to more or less be limited to cameras and lenses that I already had. This was not a good situation, because for financial reasons, my equipment consisted of multiple brands and formats of cameras and lenses, with many of the cameras having different lens mounts.

Shortly before the 1979 eclipse, I acquired a couple of small tripods at a garage sale. Combined with borrowing my dad's Albert tripod, this increased the number of cameras it would be practical to use. However, I had not yet thought of using brackets to facilitate using multiple cameras on a single tripod, and some of my cameras were fairly large. This resulted in a set of equipment that took up a lot of space.

Setting up the 1979 equipment was time consuming, because every camera except one was on a separate tripod, and I was using my big 4" x 5" monorail view camera for the sequence photo. It was also COLD on the morning of the eclipse.

Equipment used for the 1979 eclipse included the following. It is listed with the widest angle first, then is ordered according to decreasing field of view:

  • Minolta SRT-101 camera with 16mm f/2.8 Rokkor-X Fisheye lens (for Umbra photos)
  • Kodak Master View Camera with 90mm f/6.8 Angulon lens (for eclipse sequence)
  • (28mm f/2.8 and 135mm f/2.8 lenses that could be swapped with the 16mm fisheye.)
  • Keystone 8mm movie camera with 38mm telephoto lens (for movies of eclipse)
  • Rolleiflex SL66 camera with 250mm f/5.6 Sonnar lens (for wide field of eclipse)
  • Nikon F and 300mm f/4.5 Pre-Set lens with Soligor 2x tele-converter (for corona)
  • Miranda Sensorex II and 400mm f/6.3 lens with 2.5x tele-connverter (for corona)
  • Other cameras brought to the eclipse site, but for which I had no specific plans, included:
  • Pentax H2 (which could also accept the 28mm T-mount lens); and a Yashica Mat.
When facing the eclipse (toward the SE), the order of deployed cameras, from left to right, was:
  • Kodak Master View Camera with 90mm f/6.8 Angulon lens (for eclipse sequence)
  • Nikon F and 300mm f/4.5 Pre-Set lens with 2x converter (on bottom of tripod column)
  • Miranda Sensorex II and 400mm f/6.3 lens with 2.5x tele-connverter (for corona)
  • Rolleiflex SL66 camera with 250mm f/5.6 Sonnar lens (for wide field of eclipse)
  • Keystone 8mm movie camera with 38mm telephoto lens (for movies of eclipse)
  • Minolta SRT-101 camera with 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye (used in two locations for umbra)
Tripods used at the 1979 eclipse included (from right to left when facing eclipse):
  • Vivitar 1321 tripod (with 4 x 5 on top, 300mm and 2x on Nikon F below center column).
  • Vivitar 1220 tripod (with 400mm lens and 2.5x on Miranda Sensorex II camera).
  • Star D tripod (with Roleiflex SL66 and 250mm lens).
  • Albert tripod (with [unused] Keystone 8mm movie camera).
  • Unknown brand aluminum tripod (with Minolta SRT-101 and 16mm Rokkor-X fisheye).
  • Tiltall tripod (with [unused] Yashica Mat camera; set up behind the rest).
Drawing of Cameras and Tripods used at the 26 Feb. 1979 Total Solar Eclipse.
Drawing of equipment used at the Total Solar Eclipse of 26 February, 1979. This was my first total solar eclipse. Objectives were only observation and photography. There were no experiments, though (after the fact) I was able to get some light intensity data for totality and up to about a minute before totality from my photos.
Copyright 1979, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.
This is a low resolution 640 pixel wide image. Click HERE for a larger image (1650 x 1200, 476 KB)

Place Holder for 1979 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment PHOTO.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Results from the 1979 Total Solar Eclipse

The following results were obtained at the 1979 eclipse:

  • Series of photos showing the umbra approaching from the west.
  • Photos toward the east, showing the round shape of the umbra after totality.
  • Sequence photo of the partial phases (with totality inserted)
  • Photos of totality at 250mm.
  • Photos of totality at 600mm (but not very sharp, for reasons below)
Success rate: Of the six cameras deployed at the 1979 eclipse, none were automated. Acceptable results were obtained from 4 of the 6 deployed cameras:
  • Sequence photo taken on Graphic Arts film with the 4x5 camera came out fine. (100%)
  • Corona images obtained with 300mm lens were what could be expected at f/45. (60%)
  • The 400mm lens on the Miranda camera was not in focus (see details below). (10%)
  • Good results were obtained from the Rolleiflex SL66 camera and 250mm lens. (100%)
  • The Keystone 8mm movie camera was not started before totality (so, a zero there). (0%)
  • Good umbra photos obtained w/Minolta SRT-101 and 16mm, before/after totality. (85%)
  • Thus: 100% results from 2, 85% from 1, 60% from 1, 10% from 1, none from one: (59%)
The following things did not go well at the 1979 eclipse:
  • I did not photograph umbra during totality (though doing so had not been planned)
  • The Soligor Tele-Converter unexpectedly fell apart the night before the eclipse (the mount just fell off!), and (due to lack of tools on the trip) it could not be reassembled in a way that quite allowed infinity focus. As a result, the 300mm lens had to be stopped down to f/11 to get enough depth of field for the eclipse. However, I did not have a cap or attachable solar filter for the rented lens, so I stopped it down to f/22 during partial eclipse phases, so as not to fry the camera focusing screen, but then forgot to set it to f/11 for totality. The resulting slow f-stop (f/45 including 2x converter) limited the extent of corona that could be captured.
  • The 400mm lens was not focused for totality. (Focus is not at the infinity stop with the custom 2.5x converter, and I either forgot to focus it, or I moved the focus setting to the infinity stop some time after I had focused it.)
  • I forgot to even start the 8mm movie camera!
  • I had binoculars hanging from my neck, but forgot to use them!
Links to my 1979 eclipse web pages:
Copyright 1979, 1997, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Equipment for the 11 July, 1991 Total Solar Eclipse:

As had been the case in 1979, equipment used for the 11 July, 1991 total solar eclipse had to more or less be limited to cameras and lenses that I already had. Fortunately, I had acquired and built a few items in the previous two years that would be useful in getting good results, while also reducing size and weight.

One of the most important additions was a small Sony TR-7 Video 8 camcorder. This was much smaller and lighter than my Magnavox 2/3" format Newvicon video camera, which required a separate VCR and power supply. Another important addition was a motorized indexing panoramic camera platform that I had designed and built.

However, there still had not been time to think through the system enough to consider using brackets to support multiple cameras, so most of the cameras were on separate tripods.

The exception regarding tripods was that I added a Gitzo side arm attachment to the center column of my tripod to support a second camera. Then, the wide angle camera (for video of the umbra) was on top of the tripod, while a narrower field video camera (for the solar corona) was attached to a slow motion head that in turn attached to the side arm attachment on the tripod center column.

Due in part to the number of tripods, setting up the 1991 equipment was time consuming. But because our eclipse site was only a few tens of meters from the hotel, time was not an issue. However, the size and weight of the equipment, plus the setup time, precluded a last minute change of site from the beach to one of the nearby islands, in the event of clouds.

Equipment used for the 1991 eclipse included the following. As with the 1979 equipment, it is listed with the widest angle first, then is ordered according to decreasing field of view:

  • Pentax H2 with 50mm lens and Soligor 0.15x fisheye attachment (for all-sky photos)
  • Nikon FM with motor drive and 16mm f/2.8 fisheye, on motorized panoramic platform.
  • Sony camcorder (on loan) with 0.5x wide angle attachment (for video of umbra)
  • Sony TR7 Camcorder with custom 3x front converter (on same tripod, for corona video)
  • Vernonscope 94mm f/7 telescope with VersAgonal and Nikon F camera (for corona photos)
When viewed from the north side, the order of the equipment, from left to right, was:
  • Nikon FM with motor drive and 16mm f/2.8 fisheye, on motorized panoramic platform.
  • Vernonscope 94mm f/7 telescope with VersAgonal and Nikon F camera (for corona photos)
  • Sony camcorder (on loan) with 0.5x wide angle attachment (for video of umbra)
  • Sony TR7 Camcorder with custom 3x front converter (lower on same tripod, for corona)
  • Pentax H2 with 50mm lens and Soligor 0.15x fisheye attachment (for all-sky photos)
Tripods used at the 1991 eclipse included (from right to left when facing south):
  • Unknown brand tripod legs, adapted to Gitzo Ser. 3 center column, for panoramic platform.
  • Questar-Modified Davis & Sanford tripod with custom Aus-Jena mount adapter post.
  • Gitzo 326 tripod with side arm adapter modified to accept a second video camera.
  • Unknown brand tripod with red anodized legs, for all-sky camera.
Place Holder for 1991 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment DRAWING.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Place Holder for 1991 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment PHOTO.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Results from the 1991 Total Solar Eclipse

The following results were obtained at the 1991 eclipse:

  • Dramatic 360 degree panoramas of the umbra before, during, and after totality.
  • All sky photos of the umbra approaching, plus during and after totality.
  • Video of the umbra approaching and engulfing our site.
  • Video and photos of partial phases up to 95 percent (then it got cloudy)
  • Light measurements before and during totality (equivalent to 3 sec at f/4, ISO 100)
  • Obtained adequate location video to produce a video of the trip.
Success rate: Of the five cameras deployed at the 1991 eclipse, none were automated. Acceptable results were obtained from 4 of the 5 deployed cameras:
  • Panoramas with the Nikon FM came out fine, but I ran out of film during totality. (85%)
  • Clouds prevented corona photos with Nikon F, but it was used for more panoramas. (50%)
  • Wide angle video with Sony camcorder and wide angle attachment came out fine. (100%)
  • Clouds prevented corona video with the Sony TR7 camcorder and 3x converter. (0%)
  • All-sky images with Pentax H2 and fisheye were OK, but did not take very many. (80%)
  • Thus: 100% results from 1, 85% from 1, 80% from 1, 50% from 1, none from 1: (63%)
The following things did not go well at the 1991 eclipse:
  • It was cloudy during and after totality (so there are no corona photos).
  • Ran out of film for panoramas mid-totality, and had to switch to taking hand held photos.
  • Video camera was pointed left of optimum position to capture umbra departing.
Links to my 1991 eclipse web pages:
Copyright 1991, 1997, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Equipment for the 3 November, 1994 Total Solar Eclipse:

As with previous eclipses, the equipment used for the 3 Nov. 1994 total solar eclipse had to more or less be limited to the cameras, lenses, and telescopes that I already had. This time, the reason was more about available time than it was about finances. Planning and developing a procedure required a considerable time by themselves. The basis for most of the 1994 setip was the equipment I had used at the 1991 eclipse.

However, I did acquire a compact JVC GR-SZ7 S-VHS camcorder shortly before the 1994 eclipse trip. This was done because a second camcorder would be needed if I was going to simultaneously obtain umbra and corona video. Also, due to their higher tape transport speed, S-VHS camcorders tended to have fewer recording artifacts than Video8 or Hi8 camcorders.

A few months before the eclipse, I had also bought two Fisher Video 8 camcorders that were on sale for less than $400 each at the local Sears store. This increased the total number of camcorders to four. One of these new camcorders was intended for wide field corona imaging (since the camcorder with the 3x converter could not be zoomed out very far), and the other for "walk around" video at the eclipse site. However, a local person ended up using the second Fisher camcorder after I fell ill, because it was then apparent that I would not be up to using it.

In 1994, I did not have custom brackets to facilitate using multiple cameras on a single tripod, but had acquired something that was similar in concept. Bogen made a cross bar that could support four cameras. (The 2024 equivalent is the "Manfrotto 131DDB Accessory Arm for Four Heads.") It has two sliding cast aluminum assemblies that accept 3/8-16 threaded tripod heads, plus a 3/8 threaded stud at each end. Draft on the castings did not provide a flat mounting surface, but it worked fine after the surface was milled flat in the machine shop. (Filing can accomplish the same thing, but takes more time.) By using the cross bar, setting up the 1994 equipment was not as time consuming as previous setups.

However, some of aspects of the equipment had to be disassembled down to almost component level in order to fit in the luggage I could handle at an airport and transport on a flight. Even after this disassembly, the equipment (plus clothes) still required two checked bags and two carry on bags. The disassembly that was necessary for transport by air required that I have more than a day of time to reassemble and test the equipment after arriving in the host country (Bolivia).

Unfortunately, impositions by an aspiring (but failed) local politician and his rich cronies prevented having time to fully do this. (They also interfered with every other aspect of the trip.) And my lackluster 1994 eclipse results show it.

Equipment used for the 1994 eclipse included the following. It is listed with the widest angle first, then is ordered according to decreasing field of view:

  • Nikon FM with motor drive and 16mm f/2.8 fisheye, on motorized panoramic platform.
  • Sony TR7 camcorder with 0.45x fisheye attachment (for video of umbra)
  • Nikon F with 20mm f/3.8 Vivitar wide angle lens (for photos of eclipse over horizon)
  • (This Nikon F camera was also removed from the 20mm lens and used on the telescope.)
  • Canon Photura 135 camera (for site photos, and eclipse over horizon)
  • Nikon F with 350mm f/5.5 pre-set lens (for wider corona photos)
  • Fisher FVC-770 8mm camcorder with its standard zoom lens (for wider corona video)
  • Vernonscope 94mm f/7 telescope w/VersAgonal and Nikon N2020 camera (corona photos)
  • JVC GR-SZ7 S-VHS Camcorder with custom 3x front converter (for corona video)
When viewed from the west side, the order of the equipment, from left to right, was:
  • Nikon F with 20mm f/3.8 Vivitar wide angle lens (On Cross Bar, for eclipse over horizon)
  • Nikon F with 350mm f/5.5 pre-set lens (on Cross Bar, for wider corona photos)
  • Nikon FM with motor drive and 16mm f/2.8 fisheye, on motorized panoramic platform.
  • Sony TR7 camcorder with 0.45x fisheye attachment (on Cross Bar, for umbra video)
  • Canon Photura 135 camera (on Cross Bar, for site photos, eclipse over horizon)
  • Vernonscope 94mm f/7 telescope w/VersAgonal and Nikon N2020 camera (corona photos)
  • Nikon F with print film (shared with 20mm f/3.8 lens) also used on telescope.
  • JVC GR-SZ7 S-VHS Camcorder with custom 3x converter (on CW shaft; corona video)
  • Fisher FVC-770 8mm camcorder w/standard lens (on separate tripod; wider corona video)
Tripods used at the 1994 eclipse included (from right to left when facing eclipse):
  • Questar-Modified Davis & Sanford tripod with custom Aus-Jena mount adapter post.
  • Gitzo 326 tripod with side arm adapter and Bogen cross bar, for most of the cameras.
  • Star D tripod (with all aluminum color legs) for the Fisher Video 8 camcorder.
Place Holder for 1994 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment DRAWING.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Place Holder for 1994 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment PHOTO.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Results from the 1994 Total Solar Eclipse

The following results were obtained at the 1994 eclipse:

  • 360 degree panoramas of umbra before and after (but not during) totality.
  • Wide angle photo of eclipse over eastern horizon.
  • Medium angle photo of sun and horizon just before second contact.
  • Wide angle video of umbra approaching and engulfing our site.
  • Wide angle video of eclipse over horizon, plus of umbra departing.
  • Corona photos at three focal lengths, and on three types of film.
  • Close up corona and "diamond ring" video.
  • Measurement of light level during totality, but only via photos.
  • Viewed corona at 20x through telescope for a memorable 10-20 seconds.
Success rate: Of the nine cameras deployed at the 1994 eclipse (8th camera had 2 shared uses), none were automated. Acceptable results were obtained from 5 of the 9 deployed cameras:
  • Only two photos taken during totality with Nikon F and 20mm lens, but were OK. (50%)
  • Only 5 photos w/350mm lens, including by helper (I did not adequately prep. her). (50%)
  • Main objective of properly exposed 360 panoramas during totality not accomplished. (17%)
  • Did not pan Sony TR7 wide angle camcorder soon enough, but otherwise OK. (80%)
  • Canon Photura 135 camera used only before totality. (50%)
  • Nikon N2020 on Vernonscope 94mm was used as planned. (100%)
  • Nikon F that was shared with 20mm lens was used as planned on telescope. (100%)
  • JVC camcorder with 3x converter zoomed out too early, but otherwise OK. (85%)
  • Solar filter was left on Fisher camcorder during totality. (0%)
  • Thus: 100% results from 2, 85 from 1, 80 from 1, 50 from 3, 17 from 1, none from 1: (59%)
  • HOWEVER, if results are weighted according to importance, the success rate is much lower. Specifically, obtainng two properly exposed 360 degree panoramas during totality was the most important aspect, and not even one of these was obtained. (Because of local politics.)
The following things did not go well at, or before or after, the 1994 eclipse:
  • Telephone/insurance issues before trip prevented rest, making rest on arrival very important.
  • Impositions by a failed local politician and his rich cronies interfered with everything:
  • I became seriously ill (to where I needed surgery) due to demands by local politician, etc.
  • After political impositions, was insufficient time to unpack/prepare equipment, practice, etc.
  • Did not get to adequately brief our group about the eclipse (would have reduced confusion).
  • Wide angle video camera was panned from the west toward the eclipse over 20 seconds late.
  • Did not obtain any properly exposed 360 degree panoramas (for experiment) during totality.
  • Solar filter left on med. field corona video camera during totality; investigating wasted time.
  • Did not take any photos with Canon Photura 135 during totality.
  • Was not able to take enough light readings for an eclipse light curve.
  • Did not get to observe eclipse and horizon via naked eye very much.
  • Unable to timely synchronize camera clocks to WWV or obtain accurate contact timings.
  • Unable to (then) determine site location to an accuracy that mattered for contact timings.
  • Was too ill and sleepy to take in eclipse very well, or remember it as well as other eclipses.
  • Did not get to view or image Venus while it was still visible near the sun after totality.
  • Did not get to do subsequent planned observations and photography of southern sky objects.
  • Unable to obtain enough location footage for eclipse video, so adequate video was not made.
  • Did not get to spend much time with an extraordinary woman (Willma Alcocer) I met there.
Links to my 1994 eclipse web pages:
Copyright 1994, 1997, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Equipment for the 24 October, 1995 Total Solar Eclipse:

As had been the case for eclipses that I had observed before, equipment used for the 24 Oct. 1995 total solar eclipse in Thailand had to more or less be limited to cameras and lenses that I already had. However, many parts of the 1994 eclipse setup (sans the 94mm telescope) were useful as the basis for the 1995 eclipse equipment.

What was different about 1995, is I decided that the entire setup, including all of my clothes, etc., would fit in two rolling carry on bags. This was done mainly because the connection time in Hong Kong was going to be fairly short, and I did not want to risk having important equipment in a checked bag that might not make the connection. I needed only look back to the 1994 Bolivia trip, where NONE of the checked bags had arrived on time - or even on the same day - as my flight.

Because of the self-imposed luggage constraint, some aspects of the 1995 equipment, including the main tripod, had to be partially disassembled to fit the carry-on bags. Therefore, as in 1994, it was necessary to assemble some of the 1995 equipment after arriving on the host country (Thailand), then transport it to the eclipse site in a partially assembled configuration. After this, the equipment could be set up on site in about an hour. All of this went fine, perhaps because I did not encounter any Bolivian politicians in Thailand!

Instead of a telescope, I used a 300mm f/4.5 ED Nikkor lens, along with two products that my company offered. The first if these was the DiaGuider (TM), which was a combined image switcher and off-axis guider that utilized a 1 inch prism. Using the DiaGuider made it possible to observe and photograph the eclipse with the same lens or telescope (or, in this case, camera lens).

The second product was the VersaScope (TM) Adapter, which was a camera mount adapter with a front mounted Barlow lens that fit on the back of lenses that had enough room behind the rear element to accommodate the front Barlow. The VersaScope (TM) adapter provided enough back focus to use the DiaGuider behind the camera lens, while providing a magnification of slightly more than two. The Barlow added some field curvature, but for a total solar eclipse, its lack of flare and ghost images made it superior to a conventional 2x converter.

For more stability and to save space, the 300mm lens was mounted directly onto one cross bar castings via a large 3/8 inch thread to 1/4-20 adapter. The casting was rotated around the cross bar for vertical pointing, and the tripod head attach screw was loosened to move the lens in azimuth.

To get the cross bar to fit carry on luggage, it was shortened from 23 inches to 20 inches, then an extender was made for the left end. A small clamp with a 1/4-20 screw and ball head on it was then used on the extender to support the Canon Photura 135 camera.

Equipment used for the 1995 eclipse included the following. It is listed with the widest angle first, then the rest is ordered according to decreasing field of view:

  • Nikon N2020 and 16mm f/2.8 fisheye Nikkor lens on motorized panoramic platform.
  • Sony TR7 camcorder with 0.45x fisheye attachment and 0.7x converter (for video of umbra)
  • Nikon F with 14mm f/3.5 Sigma lens on motorized indexing panoramic platform.
    • (14mm lens used for first panorama, then 14mm moved to other Nikon F below.)
    • (Nikon F removed from platform, then 0.15x fisheye attachment used for all-sky.)
  • Nikon F with 14mm f/3.5 Sigma lens (lens moved here after panorama, for eclipse/horizon).
  • Canon Photura 135 camera (for site photos, and wider angle corona)
  • Nikon N2020, 300 f/4.5 ED Nikkor, Versacorp Versascope Adapter, DiaGuider (corona pix)
  • JVC GR-SZ7 S-VHS Camcorder with custom 3x front converter (for corona video)
When viewed from the west side, the order of the equipment, from left to right, was:
  • JVC GR-SZ7 S-VHS Camcorder with custom 3x converter (separate tripod, corona video)
  • Canon Photura 135 camera (for site photos, possible wider angle corona)
  • Nikon N2020, 300 f/4.5 ED Nikkor, Versacorp Versascope Adapter, DiaGuider (corona pix)
  • Nikon N2020 and 16mm f/2.8 fisheye Nikkor lens on motorized panoramic platform.
  • Nikon F and 0.15x 180 deg. fisheye lens (in tripod apron for all sky photo, after pano taken)
  • Sony TR7 camcorder with 0.45x fisheye attachment and 0.7x converter (for video of umbra)
  • Nikon F, 14mm f/3.5 Sigma lens (eclipse over horizon; lens moved after first panorama)
Tripods used at the 1995 eclipse included (from right to left when facing eclipse):
  • Star D tripod, for JVC GR-SZ7 S-VHS Camcorder with custom 3x converter.
  • Gitzo 326 tripod with side arm adapter and Bogen cross bar, for the rest of the cameras.
Place Holder for 1995 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment DRAWING.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


1995 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment Photos.
LEFT: The 1995 eclipse equipment set up to practice procedures before departure. All of the cameras except the video camera farthest to the left are mounted on a Gitzo 326 tripod with a Bogen cross bar attachment. The small blue control box near the top of the right tripod leg includes circuitry to automate operation of the indexing rotary camera platform, one of the cameras on it, and the camera on the 300 mm ED Nikkor lens, which is just left of the tripod center column. In order to minimize camera shake, the automated control synchronizes the cameras so they will not fire while the indexing platform is rotating. The video camera on the separate tripod is fitted with a home made 3x converter lens. It is on a separate tripod to isolate it from vibrations caused by operation of the equipment on the main tripod.
UPPER RIGHT: Close up of the prototype Versarama (TM) indexing rotary camera platform and its remote automated control. The right angle bracket on top allows two cameras to be attached with their entrance pupils equal distances from the center of rotation for stereo imaging, or for one camera to be positioned directly over the center. The camera is offset here because a second camera was intermittently used on the other side of the bracket. The panoramic platform began as an amateur project for the 1991 eclipse, then was improved over time.
LOWER RIGHT: All of the equipment fits into two standard carry on bags. The photo vest (shown beside the luggage) has a lot of pockets for a few extra items.
Copyright 1995, 1998, 2017, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Other Aspects of the 1995 Eclipse Equipment

The 1995 eclipse setup is lighter than any other eclipse setup I ever used, probably by a factor of two or more. The equipment itself weighed less than 26 kg (57 lbs), and the total weight of everything including the luggage and clothes, etc. was less than 38 kg (84 lbs).

A Photo Vest with numerous pockets was worn to carry small and light items. A soft tripod case was brought along because, for ground transportation, this provided an easy way to transport the assembled tripod, while also making it easier to access what was in the luggage. The assembly or item weights (in pounds) from the 1995 eclipse setup are as follows:

1995 ECLIPSE EQUIPMENT WEIGHT:

ITEM (Quantity):        WEIGHT:

ITEMS IN CARRY-ON BAGS:
Nikon F Camera (2)	3
Nikon N2020 Camera (2)	3
Canon Photura 135 cam.	2
JVC GR-SZ7 camc. w/acc	7
Sony TR7 camc. w/acc	7
7.5mm Fisheye Lens	1
Sigma 14mm f/3.5 Lens	1
Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 Fish	1
Nikkor 300/4.5 ED	3
Nikon 10x25 Binoc.	1
Gossen Luna-Pro Meter	1
Panoramic Platform	4
Bogen No. 3 Head (2)	2
Bogen Cross Arm w/AddOn	4
Star D Tripod		3
Gitzo Studex 326 Tripod	6
Side Arm Adapter, Misc.	1
Tripod Apron		1
Film and X-Ray Bag	1
Gadget Bags (2)		3
Plastic Lens/Cam. Boxes	1
EQUIPMENT WEIGHT:      56 lbs

LUGGAGE, CLOTHES, EXTERNAL:
Rolling Bag 1		8
Rolling Bag 2		8
Soft Tripod Bag		1
Photo Vest		2
Extra Clothes		5
Cleaning Suppl.		1
Food/Water		2
TOTAL NON-EQUIPMENT:   27 lbs

TOTAL, ALL ITEMS:      83 lbs

The heaviest rolling carry-on bag was just under 40 lbs. The other was about 35 lbs. The remainder was carried in pockets of the photo vest. At that time, I had no difficulty handling the carry on bags myself, and Pierre and I literally ran through the Hong Kong airport with our carry on luggage in tow, because our connecing flight to Bangkok left only 45 minutes after we arrived. (This was years before I became permanently disabled. It sure felt nice to be able to run, back in the day.)

On the plane, the rigid carry on fit comfortably in the overhead bin, and the semi-rigid one fit under the seat. The semi-rigid carry on had a flexible zipper closure, so it was easy to access the food and water in it. However, on the leg from Hong Kong, we had a bulkhead seat (no under-seat storage), so I had to put items I needed to access during the flight in the pockets of my photo vest.

Results from the 1995 Total Solar Eclipse

The following results were obtained at the 1995 eclipse:

  • 360 degree panoramas of the umbra before, during, and after totality.
  • All-sky photo of umbra in the sky about a minute before totality.
  • Photo of eclipse over horizon with 14mm wide angle lens.
  • Wide angle video of umbra approaching, plus during and after totality.
  • Corona photos at 600mm focal length, including of diamond ring.
  • Photographed lunar outline up to 1 minute and 46 seconds before totality.
  • Video of corona at equivalent focal length of about 700mm.
  • Observed corona through binoculars for about 20 seconds.
  • Observed lunar outline up until about 3 minutes after the end of totality.
  • Obtained accurate timings for 1st-3rd contact; within a few seconds for 4th contact.
  • Adequately documented the eclipse setup via photos and video.
  • Between Pierre and I, we obtained enough location footage for a video of the trip.
Success rate: Cameras included two Nikon N2020's, two Nikon F's, one Canon Photura 135, a JVC GR-SZ7 SVHS camcorder, and a Sony TR7 Video 8 camcorder. Of the seven cameras deployed at the 1995 eclipse, three (including the wide angle TR7 video camera) were automated.
- Acceptable results were obtained from all 7 of the 7 deployed cameras: (100%)

The following things did not go well at the 1995 eclipse:
  • Almost nothing went wrong, and all objectives were accomplished!
  • This is the only eclipse for which I had enough sleep. (There were no Bolivian politicians!)
  • The only real problem was when the cabin pressure of the Airbus aircraft changed fairly rapidly during descent into Hong Kong on the first leg of the flight home. My left ear hurt and I became a bit disoriented for the rest of the return flight. According to my doctor, the pressure change had ruptured my left eardrum. (What did you say? I can't hear you!)
Links to my 1995 eclipse web pages:
Copyright 1995, 1997, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Equipment for the 21 August, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse:

Unlike for previous eclipses, a considerable amount of equipment was acquired and tested before the 21 Aug. 2017 total solar eclipse. Most of the equipment was bought used, but the quantity of items to make it a considerable investment. Certain other items, such as glass solar filters, were acquired new.

Everything that was purchased was not utilized at the eclipse. For example, several different camera lenses and small telescopes were acquired (or borrowed) for testing, then those with good test results were emphasized for the eclipse.

Lens tests focused on which long focal length (250mm or longer) camera lenses and telescopes were the best at imaging earthshine on the crescent and half moon, since this is a reasonable test for evaluating how well the same optics may image earthshine on the moon (as I had clearly done in 1994) during totality. Other tests emphasized wide angle lenses and fisheye attachments.

Other new (to me) items included a number of (used) digital cameras, a used Nikon N2020 film camera, and a used MD-11 motor drive for my Nikon FM. The digital cameras included several Olympus Micro 4/3 (MFT) cameras, three Panasonic MFT cameras, a Pentax Q camera, a Pentax Q7 camera, a Panasonic camcorder that records to an SD card, a Nikon 3x converter lens, a few adapters, and two heavier tripods.

Items acquired new included several glass solar filters, three sets of custom camera brackets that I had designed, several camera lens adapters, and a second Fornax LighTrack II star tracker. I also designed and built a camera controller and interval timer, but was only able to finish 4 of its 12 channels. Due to my condition, I was no longer very good (or fast) at wiring and soldering.

The equipment was on track to be a very robust and well defined eclipse setup. However, a five week long health insurance acquisition issue prevented finishing it in time, and I had to leave home for the eclipse several days later than planned. I also had to have extra equipment and tools in tow, so I could try to finish the setup at the motel in the host state of Idaho. Clearly not a good situation.

The eclipse setup still was not fully defined even on the morning of the eclipse, so some cameras were eliminated at the last minute. Others could not be set up because I physically could not adequately control my hands while they were above shoulder level on that particular day.

Setting up on site stretched well into the partial phase of the eclipse, which had never been the case for me at an eclipse before. There were equipment malfunctions too, which also had not happened before.

Equipment used for the 2017 eclipse included the following:

  • See my 2017 total solar eclipse web page (linked below) for details. (It's a long camera list!)
Place Holder for "As Built" 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment DRAWING.
Caption TBD.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


2017 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment Photo.
The main assemblies in the 2017 eclipse equipment are the Corona Video Assembly (left) which has 6 cameras, the Corona Still Image Assembly (center) which also has 6 cameras, and the Wide Angle Assembly (right) which has 12 cameras and a small visual telescope.
After this picture was taken, the camera at upper right stopped working and was eliminated from the setup.
Also, the the camera on the low tripod near the center was not used.
A sequence camera (not shown) was mounted on a separate tripod.
On eclipse day, only two of the 8 cameras on the top part of the Wide Angle Assembly produced any useful results.
This was because my hands did not work well when above shoulder height that day, so I could not bypass the clock setting screen in the two gray camcorders, or use the yellow all sky camera. The two cameras on the panoramic platform turned themselves off (power management could not be disabled) while dealing with the other issues.
Copyright 2017, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Results from the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

The following results were obtained at the 2017 eclipse:

  • (See my 2017 total solar eclipse web page for the results list, plus details.)
The following things did not go well at the 2017 eclipse:
  • (See my 2017 total solar eclipse web page for the failure list, plus details.)
Links to my 2017 eclipse web pages:
Copyright 2017, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Equipment for the 8 April, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse (But used only at a partial eclipse!)

Equipment for the 8 Apr. 2024 total solar eclipse was based in large part on the equipment used in 2017, except that lessons learned in 2017 had been considered in modifications, subractions, and additions to the equipment.

Aspects that stayed the same included the main camera brackets, many of the cameras and lenses, and the Fornax LighTrack II open loop tracking mounts.

Aspects that changed included the following:

  • Using Fuji X cameras to extent affordable (mainly for their marked shutter speed dials)
  • Using Entaniya HAL 250 degree fisheye lenses as the primary VR optics (no stitching)
  • Eliminated Olympus 8mm f/1.8 AF lens (due to LACK of MANUAL FOCUS SWITCH)
  • Small telescopes (Ad Astra III, TeleVue 60) instead of camera lenses for corona photos.
  • Custom compact wedge used for tracker, instead of one of the large Gitzo PL5 tripod heads.
Equipment used intended for the 2024 total eclipse included the following:
  • See the "Instrumentation" part of THIS web page for details.
Place Holder for 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment DRAWING.
A drawing of the 2024 eclipse equipment is in the "Eclipse Instrumentation" chapter, near the middle of this web page.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Place Holder for 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Equipment PHOTO.
Photos of the 2024 eclipse equipment are in the "Eclipse Instrumentation" chapter, near the middle of this web page.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Results from the 2024 Total Partial Solar Eclipse

The following results were obtained at the 2024 eclipse:

  • Photos and sequence of PARTIAL phases (since not in the path of totality!)
  • Hydrogen-Alpha photos of moon covering and uncovering prominences.
The following things did not go well before or during the 2024 eclipse:
  • Several contentious parties complicated being a friend's POA for years.
  • Frontier Internet AND Phone service failed for NINE days, while I was trying to arrange transportation to the 2024 eclipse, so I did not get to go to the path of totality!
  • Solar image not optimally positioned in Coronado PST for prominences before first contact.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Appendix C: Equipment for a Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse Requiring Air Travel

Due to my age, the 8 April 2024 eclipse was probably my last shot at a domestic total solar eclipse. I have not been up to internatinoal travel for more than two decades, and being disabled, the only way I could attempt an international trip would be in a group where people can help handle the equipment and related luggage.

Even with the eclipse setup reduced from 16 cameras down to 9 or 10, transporting it still requires at least three bags that would be toward the large end of what is allowed for carry on bags. This is because there is a diminishing return in cutting back on cameras. Supporting equipment including tripods and star trackers (not to mention clothes, etc.) is still required, and there is relatively little change in the weight of such items, regardless of the number of cameras used.

Unfortunately, airlines don't usually allow three carry on bags. But making the trek to a baggage claim area is challenging for a disabled person. Needless to say, logistics of an eclipse trip that involves flying are a great deal more difficult, especially when combining a disabled passenger with 59 kg of luggage. (And the 59 kg doesn't count a rollator walker; it only includes two Gitzo collapsible monopods that are used as canes.)

Eclipse equipment shown and described below is an early attempt to reduce the size and weight, while not giving up an excessive amount of capability. It is based in large part on parts of the 2024 eclipse instrumentation, but fewer and lighter tripods (and fewer camera brackets) are used where practical.

Aspects that stayed the same included the wide angle tripod and its camera brackets, as well as continuing to use at least one Fornax LighTrack II mount. The Fornax mount is retained in the event southern night sky imaging would be possible from Australia shortly after the 2028 eclipse. (Observing and photographing southern sky objects is another thing that the local aspiring (but still failed to this day) politician and his rich buddies prevented me from doing in Bolivia back in 1994.)

Aspects that changed in comparison to the 2024 setup include the following:

  • Uses only two types of interchangeable lens digital cameras, to reduce the number and type of batteries and chargers required. Cameras retained are Fuji XT series and Panasonic GX7.
  • Adds one Fujifilm XT camera, and removes XE camera and several Micro 4/3 cameras.
  • Uses only one film camera. (There is no longer a wide angle film camera.)
  • Uses only one Entaniya HAL 250 degree fisheye lens for the primary VR optics.
  • Uses smaller 4-channel interval timer/controller rather than the 12 channel one.
  • Eliminates 1-2 of the three light meters. (So unfortunately, range changes may be required.)
  • Eliminated separate tripods for sequence camera and interval timer box.
  • Two of the three remaining Gitzo tripods are one size smaller.
  • Custom compact wedges are used for both trackers.
Equipment intended for a notional future total solar eclipse includes the following:

No. CAMERA MODEL:    OPTICS:	PURPOSE:     Int.Timer:

01. Fujifilm X-T10a  TeleVue 60	Corona Still Chan. 1
02. Fujifilm X-T10b  8.0 Samyg	Wide Still   Chan. 2
03. Fujifilm X-T20a  3.6 Entan	VR Still     Chan. 3
04. Fujifilm X-T20b  7.5 Samyg  Wide Video   -
05. Fujifilm X-T20c  28 7Artis	Sequence     Internal
06. Nikon N2020a     AdAstra 3	Corona Film  (Chan.4)
07. Panasonic GX7a   7.5 Samyg	Lt. Meter V. -
08. Panasonic GX7b   300 f/4.5	Corona Video -
09. Panasonic GX7c   500T+1.4x	Corona Video -
10. Ricoh Theta S    2x 180deg	VR Backup    -
Optional:
11  Canon SX280      20:1 zoom	Cor.Vid.Bak. -
12. Canon SX260      20:1 zoom	Area of Int. -
13. Pan HDC-SD1      Zoom + 3x	Cor.Vid.Bak. -
Instrumentation for a Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse in Another Country.
Drawing of equipment proposed for a notional Total Solar Eclipse that occurs after 8 April, 2024.
Significant changes include removal of six cameras, removal of brackets on both of the outer tripods, using lighter tripods for the outer two, moving the light meters and meter camera to the wide angle tripod, moving the sequence camera from a separate tripod to the wide angle tripod, and using a smaller interval timer.
This is a low resolution 640 pixel wide image. Click HERE for a larger image (1440 x 1152, 448 KB).
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse Equipment, Configured for Eclipse in Eastern Sky.
Photo of notional future total solar eclipse instrumentation, showing it set up to image an eclipse at a morerate elevation angle in the eastern sky, for a northern hemisphere site. This is similar to what the configuration would be if the system was use in Gibraltar for the 2027 total solar eclipse. If the same equipment was used in Australia for the 2028 eclipse (where the sun is closer to the meridian during totality), the star trackers on the two side tripods would be oriented closer to how they are shown in the drawing above, or in the 2024 eclipse setup. The small blue box on the lower left of the central tripod bracket is a stand-in for a 4-channel camera controller and Interval timer that is smaller than the 12-channel one that was made for the 2017 and 2024 eclipses. In the Corona Still Image Assembly at lower left, the TeleVue 60 telescope is moved to the forward position on its mountaing rail, instead of using a counterweight. This wasn't necessary in the 2024 setup because the eclipse was near the meridian at the site I selected. This picture looks a little busy, because I was unable to set up the goldenrod color background cloth for it. The orange Celestron 8 telescope in the left background is not part of the eclipse equipment. Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Goals for a Notional Future Eclipse Expedition:

Unfortunately, because air travel is required to get to total solar eclipses that are likely to occur in my lifetime, most goals had to be thrown out the window, in favor of scaled back equipment that is small and light enough for air travel. Also, only two eclipses likely to occur in my lifetime (2027 and 2028) have a duration of totality that is comparable to the 2024 eclipse.

None of the remaining eclipses of four minute or longer duration are a good fit to my circadian rythm, which tends toward better perormance if I don't get up early. The 2028 eclipse in Austraila happens locally in the afternoon, but jet lag from crossing a large number of time zones could be considerable. I was able to do this for the 1995 eclipse in Thailand, but my age was then just over half of what it is now.

Scaled back goals for a notional solar eclipse of 4 minute or more duration include the following:

  • Allocate at least 50 seconds to observe the solar corona under magnification.
  • Obtain data for umbra projection altitude experiment, mostly from VR images.
  • Capture 360 degree panoramas at every 5 seconds, using Entaniya fisheye lens.
  • Capture wide angle images of the eclipse over the horizon.
  • Capture wide angle video of the eclipse over the horizon throughout totality.
  • Capture a sequence image showing partial phases every 4 minutes, plus totality.
  • Capture range of solar corona exposures with both film and digital cameras.
  • Image earthshine on the moon during totality.
  • Capture video of solar corona in a (limited) range of image scales and exposures.
  • Measure and record data for light and temperature curves between 1c and 4c.
  • Take enough location video to provide background for an eclipse video.
  • Requirement: Shall be compatible with air travel, with delicate items being carried on.

Capabilities of the Notional Future Eclipse Instrumentation

Capabities of the notional future eclipse instrumentation are driven in part by the goals above.
  • From 2c-2 min. to 3c+4, automatically captures a 360 degree panorama every 5 seconds.
  • Redundant manually operated VR camera (R. Theta) for backup on 360 degree panoramas.
  • Full frame fisheye digital still pictures of sun (and eclipse) over horizon.
  • Full frame fisheye video of sun (and eclipse) over horizon (12-16mm equivalent FL).
  • Automated sequence image of all partial eclipse phases (Fuji X-T20, 28mm lens).
  • Two light meters, clock, and camera for recording light curve data.
  • Corona photos (digital) at full frame equivalent focal length of 540mm (TV60).
  • Corona photos (on 35mm film) at focal length of 760mm (Ad Astra III).
  • Corona video at full frame equivalent focal lengths of 750mm and 1,750mm.
  • Small visual fisheye lens to observe lunar umbra.
  • Small visual telescope to observe solar corona while operating corona cameras.
  • 10x compact binoculars to observe solar corona.
  • Operable from a seated position, and (mostly) compatible with my disabilities.
  • Includes (limited) equipment to image the night sky on days after the eclipse.

Assemblies, Tripods, and Corresponding Camera Groups:

The notional future eclipse instrumentation consists of three major assemblies, but has no minor assemblies. Each assembly is on its own tripod. Items are listed in the order they appear in the above drawing and photo, from left to right (and top to bottom where applicable).

Assemblies for a Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse include:

  • Corona Still Image Assembly (2 cameras, one visual scope, Fornax LighTrack II):
    • Corona film camera (Nikon N2020) on Ad Astra III Mak-Cass. telescope (760 FL)
    • Small visual telescope (Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 mirror lens with custom diagonal)
    • Corona digital camera (X-T10) on TeleVue 60 telescope, field flattener (540 eq. FL)
  • Wide Angle, VR, Sequence Imaging, Light Measurement Assembly (6 cameras):
    • Entaniya HAL 250 deg. fisheye lens (pointed up) on Fuji X-T20, for 360 deg. photos.
    • Adapted Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 MFT fisheye on Fujifilm X-T20, for 180 deg. video.
    • Ricoh Theta S with wired remote on short post, for backup VR still images.
    • 8mm f/2.8 Samyang fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T10, for 180 degree photos.
    • Sequence camera (will be 28mm lens on Fuji X-T20, using internal interval timer)
    • Light meter camera (Panasonic GX7, 7.5mm lens), plus two light meters and clock.
    • Smaller custom camera controller / interval timer is attached to lower camera bar.
  • Corona Video Assembly (2 cameras on Fornax LighTrack II mount):
    • Panasonic GX7 with Tamron 500mm lens, 1.4x converter (1,750mm equiv. FL)
    • Panasonic GX7 with Nikon 300mm f/4.5 ED Nikkor (750mm equivalent FL)
Detail of Wide Angle/VR/Sequence Assembly for Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse.
Photo of the Wide Angle Assembly in notional future total solar eclipse instrumentation. Unlike the 2024 design, this version of the Wide Angle Assembly includes the sequence camera (bottom center) and Light Measurement equipment (bottom right). Specifics are:
- TOP LEFT: Entaniya 3.6mm f/2.8 (250 degree) fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T20 camera, for still images (one every 5 seconds) that cover the entire sky, the full 360 degree horizon, and down to 35 degrees below the horizon.
- TOP CENTER: Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T20 camera, for video of the eclipse over the horizon that covers 180 degrees horizontally (as opposed to only diagonally). A modified RAF Camera MFT to Fuji X adapter was used to mount the MFT format fisheye lens on the Fujifilm APS format camera, and the front lens hood petal section of the lens was de-rotated and modified to work with the adapter and the larger APS format.
- TOP RIGHT: Ricoh Theta S VR camera with wired remote, for redundant 360 degree photos. The Theta is not the primary VR camera because its small pixels limit dynamic range in comparison to the Fujifilm APS format digital camera that is used with the Entaniya fisheye lens.
- BOTTOM LEFT: Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye lens on Fujifilm X-T10 camera, for still images of the eclipse over the horizon. This camera can also be panned toward the left, in the event that there is an area of interest in that direction, including near the boundary of the lunar umbra.
- BOTTOM CENTER: Sequence camera with manual focus 28mm lens (42mm equivalent) and solar filter. The shown Fujifilm X-E1 camera is a stand-in for an X-T20 or other Fuji camera that has a built-in interval timer, for automation of the eclipse sequence imaging.
- BOTTOM RIGHT: Light Meter camera that images two light meters and a clock, to capture data for a light curve of the eclipse. The bracket supporting the meters angles toward the right, to place the meters toward the lower right corner of the image. The rest of the frame images the foreground and the eclipse (if the solar elevation angle is low enough). This camera can also be panned toward the right (while still keeping the meters in the field of view), in the event that there is an area of interest in that direction. Two meters are used so one can be set to high range and the other to low range. This is important, because the range of a single meter would typically have to be changed less than 10 seconds before second contact!
- COMMENTS: To reduce transported volume and weight (because any future total eclipse would involve air travel), this version lacks a second Entaniya HAL 250 degree fisheye lens for 360 degree video, and instead uses a Ricoh Theta S that would only capture a few still photos. The small black object in front of the blue box is a wired remote for the Ricoh Theta camera.
- This version also lacks a wide angle film camera, which was at the lower right in the 2024 setup.
- This setup could be slightly lighter if there was not a separate meter camera, and the meters were instead imaged with the wide angle camera and 8mm Samyang lens at lower left. However, proper placement of the meters in the field of view would then require a different configuration of the meter brackets for each potential eclipse site, depending on the solar elevation angle, complicating assembly. This could also cause the meters to be a distraction in other wide angle photos, even though they would be imaged too small to resolve the light level reading.
- A small Gossen Digisix meter could be used instead of both Sekonic meters IF there was a way to keep it turned on for continuous readings. However, holding the read button down causes a Digisix to measure dynamic range instead of continuously metering light level. Modifying a Digisix to have an external jack for its read button contacts (that can be connected to an interval timer) might work, but implementation could take a lot of time. Also, the "wow factor" of seeing meter needles move in real time during the seconds before and after totality is lost with a digital readout.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse Equipment, Configured for Eclipse in Western Sky.
Photo of notional future total solar eclipse instrumentation, showing it set up to image an eclipse at a morerate elevation angle in the western sky, for a nothern hemisphere site. The Corona Still Image tripod on the left uses the same telescopes and related cameras as the 2024 setup, but it does not include the long cross bar to support the light meters and the meter camera. (Those items are now on the central wide angle tripod.) One addition to the Corona Still Image tripod is a small counterweight (not visible) that was not needed when tracking near the meridian, as would have been the case for the 2024 eclipse from Waco, TX. (Shifting the TeleVue 60 forward was not quite enough to eliminate the need for a counterweight in the shown configuration. Discovering this illustrates why it is always advisable to set the equipment up the same way it would be set up at a specific eclipse.) Like the top photo in this group, this picture looks a little busy, because I was unable to set up the goldenrod color background cloth for it. Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Cameras, Lenses, Telescopes, Meters, etc., for a Notional Future Total Solar Eclipse.
Equipment for the notional future system does not crowd the table like the 2024 equipment did, even when one of the Fornax trackers, a custom wedge, and a low profile tripod head are included. Setup is fairly fast if the equipment is on a table, but a table is not something one can bring on a flight. The small point and shoot camera at the very front is not part of the eclipse setup, but would be brought on a trip. Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Allocation of Cameras By Function and Work Load, etc:

The notional future system has a total of ten cameras. 1-2: Two capture 360 degree still images; 3: one captures 180 degree video; 4: one captures 180 degree stills; 5: one takes video of light meters with a fisheye lens; 6: one captures a sequence of all phases of the eclipse; 7-8 two capture video of the corona; and, 9-10 two capture still images of the corona.

The future setup does not require too much attention, even during totality. 1-4: Four of the cameras (one wide angle, one meter camera, two corona cameras) take video and require only occasional monitoring. 5-7: Every few seconds, an interval timer fires the shutters of two wide angle cameras, plus the digital corona camera. 8: The sequence camera runs on its own internal interval timer. 9: The Ricoh Theta only needs to be used for 2-3 photos during totality. 10. The Nikon N2020 film camera is the only one that needs to be manually fired several times, for corona photos. Most of the "operator time" is used for changing shutter speeds on the two corona still image cameras.

Of the six additional cameras the 2024 setup had: 1-3: Three (one wide angle, one tracked corona camera, one wider field untracked corona camera) took unattended video; 4: one wide angle digital still camera was fired by the interval timer; 5: one wide angle film camera was fired manually; 6: the close up corona video camera had to be repositioned once during totality. So, three of these required some attention during totality.

Even though the proposed future eclipse setup has been photographed, there are still some loose ends that will either incur cost or require significant time to implement. The most significant of these include the following:

REQUIRED ITEM:				DO LIST:
- Small 4-Channel Camera Controller:	Acquire parts and build (takes weeks).
- Add one Fuji camera w/interval timer:	Acquire X-T20, X-T4, or X-T5.
- Wedge for second star tracker:	Build per most recent drawing.
- Short post for Ricoh Theta:		Acquire parts, make it.
- Smaller Atomic Clock for assembly:	Locate and acquire clock.
- Get 7.5mm to fully mount on Fuji X:	Reduce centering land dia. (Done)*
- Grips for second 206 Reporter tripod:	Order/add grip rings to Gitzo.
- Reg. all items with U.S. Customs.	Bring all to port of entry, form 4457.
-- Comment: The last item is impossible to do by myself, due to my condition.

* A Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 Micro 4/3 mount fisheye lens is used on a Fuji X APS format camera to get wider horizontal and vertical fields of view. It is adapted by means of a RAF Camera MFT lens to Fuji X-mount adapter.
- However, the diameter of the centering land at the base of the bayonet mount on the Fuji side of the adapter was about 0.05mm too large, causing the adapter to bind when mounted on a Fuji X-T10 camera body, and to not even quite go on an X-T20 body. This was corrected by using a small file (that is flat on one side and rounded on the other, which also has a slight side radius) to slowly file away on the outside diameter of the centering flange and slightly reduce its diameter. This locally removes the anodizing, but the adapter worked fine after the mod. and deburring, etc.
- The RAF adapter also causes the MFT lens to be rotated about 45 degrees clockwise from its normal orientation (as seen from the front) when mounted on a Fuji X camera. This causes the lens hood petals to be rotated by the same amount, which obstructs the image. Fortunately, the lens hood is a plastic part that attaches to the front of the lens with a few screws, and it was possible to coreect the rotational position of the lens hood by drilling new mounting holes in the plastic.
- The shorter lens hood petals on either side were cut off in order to get the full 180 degree field of view in the horizontal direction, since the entire image circle just barely fits within the largest orthogonal dimension of the Fuji APS image sensor. The top and bottom petals do not significantly intrude into the field of view, and were filed back a little. (The above mods more or less commit the lens to being used on a Fuji camera, so such mod's are in the "Don't try this at home" catagory!)

Other Aspects of Notional (Scaled Back) Future Eclipse Equipment

The scaled back eclipse instrumentation below is lighter and requires less volume than the 2024 eclipse setup, but it is about 21 kg heavier than my 1995 eclipse setup. This is partly because the 1995 setup had only one corona video camera and one corona still camera, and neither was on a tracking mount. Also, for an average eclipse trip back in the day, film cameras did not need chargers or spare batteries, and there was no need to bring a computer to view film photos.

As in 1995, a photo vest with numerous pockets is proposed, to provide a way to carry small and light things that may need to be accessed quickly. A soft tripod case is also included, to make it possible to carry the largest tripod separately when traveling by means other than air. The proposed assembly or item weights (in pounds) in the notional future eclipse setup (not counting the three optional cameras) are as follows:

(PROPOSED) FUTURE ECLIPSE EQUIPMENT WEIGHT:

ITEM (Quantity):	WEIGHT:

EQUIPMENT IN LUGGAGE:
Fuji X-I10 camera (2)	2
Fuji X-T20 camera (3)	3
Nikon N2020 camera (1)	2
Pana. GX7 (3)		3
Ricoh Theta, Acc.	1
Extra Bat./Chargers	2
Laptop Comp/PS/Plug Ad.	5
CAMERA/COMPUTER TOTAL: 18 lbs

Entaniya 3.6mm		4
Samyang 7.5 f/3.5 (2)	1
Samyang 8.0 f/2.8 (1)	1
7Artisans 28 f/1.4	1
Fuji System 2, in case	6 (-3, since cam./lenses counted separately)
AtAstra w/cam. adapt.	3
Rokin. 300 telescope	1
TeleVue 60 w/case	5
Nikon 300/4.5 ED	3
Tamron 500/8, 1.4x	2
Solar Filters (5)	1
Binoculars (10x25)	1
OPTICS TOTAL:	       26 lbs

Meter/Clock/Sup.Bar	2
Interval Timer (4 chan)	1
Fornax1 + Wedge		4
Fornax2 + Wedge		4
Counterweight f/Fornax  2
AA+9V Batteries		1
INSTRUMENT TOTAL:      14 lbs

LeapLumin BallHd (4x)	2
Slow Motion Head (2x)	2
Gitzo 1270 head		2
Gitzo 1370 head		3
Gitzo Reporter 206a	4
Gitzo Reporter 206b	4
Gitzo MiniStudex 302	5* Not Counted (Alternate for Reporter 206b)
Gitzo Studex 306a	6
Gitzo Reporter cane (2)	3
WideA.Cam Bar/Posts	4
CamCrossBar, 8.5" (2)	1
Fisheye RA Bracket	1
Tripod Apron		1
SUPPORT TOTAL:	       33 lbs

EQUIPMENT TOTAL:       91 lbs.

LUGGAGE, CLOTHES, EXTERNAL:
Rolling Bag 1 (Telesc.)	8
Rolling Bag 2 (Tpd,Brk)	8
Rigid Box for Entaniya	2
Computer Bag 1 (Cam's)	3
Computer Bag 2 (Lenses) 3
Soft Tripod Bag		1
Photo Vest (Domke)	2
Extra Clothes		5
Cleaning Supplies	1
Food, Water, Bowl, Etc.	5
TOTAL NON-EQUIPMENT:   38 lbs

TOTAL, ALL ITEMS:     129 lbs

(12.9 lbs per camera used.)

In the above list, only a few things can be removed without having a significant impact on the capability and performance of the eclipse system. A few examples are shown below, to illustrate that the total weight is not reduced enough to make much difference, even when a change (such as not bringing the Entaniya 250 degree fisheye lens) will cause a major reduction in function. Also, leaving out a computer would make it difficult to view or back up photos and data during the trip.

CHANGES VERSUS SYSTEM WEIGHT:

POTENTIAL WEIGHT REDUCTIONS:
Use 7Artisans 4mm fisheye instead of Entaniya 3.6mm:     -5 lbs
Lighter brackets and posts for Wide Angle assembly:      -1 lb
Replace Sekonic meters w/Gossen DigiSix, lighen brackets -1 lb
Replace 300mm ED Nikkor with Non-ED 300mm lens.          -1 lb
Do not bring a laptop computer/AC power supply on trip:  -5 lbs
Replace 2 rolling carry on bags w/backpacks & trolleys:  -8 lb
TOTAL weight reduction from from lightweighting:         21 lbs
...which reduces the total weight to: 129-21 =          108 lbs

Even though the above only reduces the total weight by 21 lbs, it could barely be enough to reduce the total number of bags from 4 to 3, especially if the largest bag is close to the weight limit for a checked bag. However, a large rigid case suitable for a checked bag could weigh at least 12 pounds, and only 6 pounds of this would be offset by removing the two 3 pound computer bags.

POTENTAL WEIGHT INCREASES FROM ENHANCEMENTS:
Takahashi Teegul Mount (13 lbs) instead of one Fornax:   +7 lbs
Fuji X-E1 with 7Artisans 4mm instead of Ricoh Theta S:   +1 lb
Include Optional Panasonic HDC-SD1 Camcorder & 3x conv:  +2 lbs
Camp stool (so no need to shop for one before eclipse):	 +2 lbs
TOTAL Weight Increase from Possible Enhancements:        12 lbs
...which increases the total weight to: 129+12 =        141 lbs
The enhancements would improve the system considerably (especially for astronomical observation unrelated to the eclipse), even though these only add 12 pounds to the total weight.

For the baseline 129 lb system, the heaviest piece of carry-on luggage was almost exactly 40 lbs (both by calculation and by weighing a rolling carry on with the items inside). This is on the heavy side. But the weight of this bag can be reduced to about 35 lbs. by using a non-rigid backpack instead of a semi-rigid rolling carry on. However, a backpack loaded that heavy is inconsistent with my disability, so it would have to be moved on a trolley, which would add a couple of pounds back into the total.

The 129 lb. total is not much more than half of the 200 lbs of luggage (in 4 bags; 2 checked and 2 carry on) that I handled by myself (with some difficulty) early in the 1994 total solar eclipse trip to Bolivia. However, age and disability put what was once possible into the realm of the impossible. This is why a solo expedition can't even be considered with over 120 lbs of luggage.

Because carry on bag weight is excessive (40 lbs) if only three bags are used, the equipment would have to fly in at least four bags to make each one more manageable. In practice, this would probably conist of two rolling carry on bags of the maximum allowable size (22 x 14 x 9 inches), and two shoulder bags of close to the maximum size allowed by most airlines (18 x 14 x 8).

This obviously could not all be carried on by a single passenger, since 2 items tends to be the maximum. But it does lower the weight of each item. Here, the each rolling carry on would weigh about 35 pounds (31 lbs if non-rigid bags or backpacks used with trolleys), and the shoulder bags would weigh about 26 pounds each, with pockets in the 2 lb photo vest carrying the remaining 5 lbs. Unfortunately, even a 30-35 lb carry on my be heavier than what some airlines allow.

If bags are checked, the total weight would be more, because the equipment would have to be padded in a way that increases the volume by about 1.5 times, and a larger rolling suitcase will weigh more than a rolling carry on. However, it should be possible to meet the 50 lb maximum that some airlines allow for a checked bag.

Complete List of Items in Notional Future Eclipse Instrumentation (Link):

Even though weight estimates above are fairly accurate, a weight estimate does not capture enough information to replicate the system down to the last knurled screw or small accessory. Since it could be years before a future eclipse setup is actually assembled again before a possible (though unlikely if my health does not improve) eclipse trip, a list of all items in the system was compiled.

The list should help reduce the risk of accidentally selling an essential part of the system, and should also make it possible to get everything together again, in the event there is an opportunity to go to another total solar eclipse. The detailed list is fairly long, so it is linked instead of being included in the text of this web page. (Detailed List is Under Construction.)


Comparing Notional Future Eclipse Equipment with the 2024 Eclipse Setup:

When reducing the weight of eclipse equipment, there is a diminishing return to reducing the number of cameras without also giving up capabilities such as tracking. Even when the tripod size is reduced and a few brackets are eliminated, it does not eliminate the fixed weight of a star tracker, light meter, or other supporting equipment.

The list below shows items from the 2024 setup that are not in the smaller setup above. As the weight totals will show, the reduction in weight is not quite proportional to the reduction in the number of cameras:

2024 ITEM (Quantity):	WEIGHT:

EQUIPMENT IN LUGGAGE:
Canon SX280 Camera (1)	1
Fujifilm X-E1 Camera	0 (Canceled out by extra X-T20 above)
Leica CL / 28mm MS Opt.	1
Nikon N2020 Camera (2x)	3
Olympus E-P3 (3)	3
Panasonic Camcorder/Chg	2
Pentax Q w/charger (1)	1
CAMERA TOTAL:	        11 lbs

Entaniya 3.0mm		4
Samyang 7.5 f/3.5 (2)	1
Samyang 12 f/2.8 FF (1) 1
Nikon 35/2, Pan 20/1.7	1
Nikon 500 f/8 Mir. (1)	2
Solar Filters (2)	1
Weight Dif. Canon 10x30	1
ADDIT. OPTICS TOTAL:   11 lbs

Larger Interval Timer	1
Sekonic/Gossen Meters	1
ADDED INSTRUMENT TOTAL:	2 lbs

Gitzo Weekend Tripod	1
Gitzo Sport Tripod (1)  3
Differ. Gitzo S2/S3 (2) 4
Gitzo PL5 hd (as wedge) 3
LeapLumin BallHd (2x)	1
Slow Motion Head (2x)	2
Post, 28" f/Theta (1)	2
Base Plate f/Studex (2)	2
Camera Bar, 17" (2)	2
Right Angle Bracket	1
Tripod Apron (2nd one)	1
ADDIT. SUPPORT TOTAL:  22 lbs

ADD. EQUIPMENT TOTAL:  42 lbs

LUGGAGE, CLOTHES, EXTERNAL:
Rolling Bag 3		8
Tripod Case (1)		6
Rigid Box for Entaniya	2
Camera Manuals		1
Cks, Mir, Tools, Etc.	1
Camp stools (2)		2
TOTAL NON-EQUIPMENT:   20 lbs

ADDITION OF ALL ITEMS: 65 lbs

TOTAL WT, 2024 EQUIP: 194 lbs

(12.1 lbs per camera used.)

ADDITIONAL 2024 Equipment Weight (As Packed for Ground Transport):

Because the 2024 equipment was packed to expedite setup time rather than reduce its transported size and weight (flying with it was not practical), the following weights apply to the "as packed" 2024 eclipse setup:

ADDED ITEM (Quantity):	WEIGHT:

EQUIPMENT IN LUGGAGE:
Spare Nikon N2020	1
Motorized Pano Platform 4 (Optional)
Optional Tripod Leveler	2 (Optional)
TOTAL EXTRA IN LUGGAGE	7

Elevated Mount for Pano 4
ADDIT. SUPPORT TOTAL:   4 lbs

LUGGAGE, CLOTHES, EXTERNAL:
Entaniya Lens cases (2) 6  (Added weight, after subtracing 2x 2 lb boxes)
Rigid Camera case 1	6
Rigid Camera case 2	4
Fornax Mount case 1	4
Camera Bracket Case	6
Plastic File Boxes (4)	8
TOTAL NON-EQUIPMENT:   34 lbs

WEIGHT OF ABOVE ITEMS: 45 lbs
WEIGHT OF 2024 LIST:  194 lbs

TOTAL WT, 2024 EQUIP: 239 lbs

At 14.9 lbs per camera used, the grand total weight for the 16 camera system is more per camera than the scaled back system. However, the 239 lb grand total for the "as packed" 2024 eclipse setup (which was intended for gound transport only) was not for a system intended to be lightweight.

The 2024 grand total also further incudes two additional cameras: A spare Nikon N2020 (for using a second type of film if time permits), and a film camera with a wide angle lens for taking pictures of subjects other than the eclipse. When these other cameras are counted, the per-camera 2024 system weight is 13.3 pounds.

In addition to the 2024 equipment weight shown above, I had packed personal items such as a food bowl, toothbrush, etc., in a separate train case, rather than mingling such items with the equipment. And I was bringing more food, water, etc., than would be the case if traveling by air. That probably added at least another 10 pounds to the above 239 pound 2024 eclipse equipment total.

Results from a Future Total Solar Eclipse:
  • Will it be possible to go to another total eclipse? Will there be any results?
  • Stay tuned after each future eclipse, to see if I made it, and what the results are!
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Appendix D: Other (Partial) Solar Eclipses:


This Chapter Covers Other Partial Solar Eclipses. Some of it is Under Construction.
It is envisioned that this chapter will include the following eclipses:
  • 13 Dec. 1974, partial eclipse imaged from Estes Park, Colorado. (Photo) -
  • 12 Oct. 1977, imaged as Partial Eclipse from Estes Park, Colorado. (Photo) -
  • 30 May, 1984, imaged as Partial Eclipse from Phoenix, Arizona. (Sequence) -
  • 4 Jan, 1992, annular, but clouded out before sun half covered. (Photos) -
  • 14 Dec. 2001, imaged as partial eclipse from Phoenix, Arizona (Photo) -
  • 10 Jun. 2002, imaged as partial eclipse from Pasadena, CA. (Sequence) +
  • 20 May, 2012, imaged as partial eclipse from Los Angeles, CA. (Photo) +
  • 23 Oct. 2014, imaged as partial eclipse from Pasadena, CA. (Photo) +
  • 14 Oct. 2023, imaged as partial eclipse from Los Angeles, CA. (Sequence) -
Comments:
* If a "+" (plus sign) appears to the right of a line, an image of the listed eclipse appears below.
* If a "-" (minus sign) appears to the right of a line, no images of the listed eclipse appear below.
* See the rest of my www.eclipsechaser.com web site for photos of total solar eclipses.
* Lunar eclipses may later be covered in a separate web page.)


Partial Solar Eclipse (from Pasadena, CA). 10 June, 2002:
Solar Eclipse of 10 June, 2002 (Sequence)
This seqence picture was taken from Pasadena, CA, with a Pentax 6x7 film camera, 105mm lens, and solar filter. In a darkroom, the film was wound forward and placed in the camera without a takeup spool. This allowed the camera shutter to be wound and fired without moving the film, enabling a multiple exposure picture. The photo of the sky and foreground was taken with the same camera and lens, but with the solar filter removed after the sun was behind a tree.
More photos of this eclipse may be added later. Copyright 2002 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Partial Solar Eclipse (from Sunland / Shadow Hills, CA). 20 May, 2012:
Solar Eclipse of 20 May, 2012 (Maximum Eclipse from Shadow Hills, CA)
This picture of (local) maximum eclipse was taken from Shadow Hills, CA, with a Vernonscope 94mm f/7 refractor telescope and an Olympus E-P2 Micro 4/3 camera. The annular eclipse path was within 400 miles of my area, but I could not make the trip because I lacked the medical overhead for it while I was working part time.
A stereo photo of this eclipse may be added later. Copyright 2012 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Partial Solar Eclipse (from Pasadena, CA). 23 October, 2014:
Solar Eclipse of 23 October, 2014 (Eyepiece Projection)
This photo is the ultimate example of how "the telescope you have with you is the one that gets used." This eclipse was on a work day. For some time, work had been busy enough that I had not bothered to look into when a solar eclipse would happen. However, as I was coming in to work, I drove past some people on a sidewalk who were looking through a telescope that was fitted with a solar filter. I had no telescope or solar filter with me, but I did have my 30 year old Specwell 8 x 20 monocular. So I held the monocular in my hand and focused it to form a projected image of the sun, as shown at bottom left. This revealed that an eclipse was in progress. The larger image is a closer photo of the projected image. It is't a very good picture, but it is memorable because of the large sunspot group. The projected image was photographed with an Olympus E-P1 Micro 4/3 camera and an Olympus 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens.
This is my only photo of this eclipse. Copyright 2014 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Appendix E: Solar Transits of Mercury and Venus:


This Chapter Covers Solar Transits of Mercury and Venus. Some of it is Under Construction.
This chapter includes the following transits:
  • 8 Nov. 2006 Transit of Mercury. (photo of ingress) +
  • 8 Nov. 2006 Transit of Mercury. (sequence) -
  • 8 Nov. 2006 Transit of Mercury. (photos of equipment) +
  • 5 Jun. 2012 Transit of Venus. (black drop effect during ingress) -
  • 5 Jun. 2012 Transit of Venus. (sequence) -
  • 5 Jun. 2012 Transit of Venus. (stereo image) +
  • 5 Jun. 2012 Transit of Venus. (photo of equipment) -
  • 9 May, 2016 Transit of Mercury. (clouded out, so is only equipment photo) +
  • 11 Nov. 2019 Transit of Mercury. (photo of egress) +
  • 11 Nov. 2019 Transit of Mercury. (photos of equipment) +
Comments:
* If a "+" (plus sign) appears to the right of a line, an image of the listed transit appears below.
* If a "-" (minus sign) appears to the right of a line, no images of the listed transit appear below.
* Occultations and planetary conjunctions may later be covered in a separate web page.


Transit of Mercury. 8 November, 2006:
Transit of Mercury, 8 November, 2006. Ingress at 19:13 GMT.
Ingress during the 8 Nov. 2006 transit of Mercury. Taken from Pasadena, CA, with a Vernonscope 94mm f/7 refractor telescope and a 48mm Brandon eyepiece. A Sony DSC-F707 digital camera was positioned right behind the eyepiece for this afocal picture. Mercury is the small interruption in the solar limb near the lateral center of the picture. For this transit, I also set up a Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha telescope to see if I could catch Mercury in front of a solar prominence before it reached the photosphere. Unfortunately, I was overcome with fatigue a few minutes before the transit began, and did not recover in time to use the PST. As fate would have it, another photographer took an H-Alpha photo that showed Mercury did transit in front of a prominence only a few minures before this photo was taken.
More photos of this transit may be added later. Copyright 2006 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Equipment Used for 8 November 2006 Transit of Mercury
From left to right:
1.) Vernonscope 94mm f/7 refractor with afocal adapter (uses 48mm Brandon eyepiece) and Sony DSC-F707 camera.
2.) Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope (used visually and for photos).
3.) Soligor 450mm f/8 lens with the same custom afocal adapter that I made for the telescope.
The custom afocal adapter can be used on larger telescopes with an 85mm f/1.8 camera lens instead of the eyepiece.
Copyright 2019 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Transit of Venus. 5 June, 2012:
Transit of Venus, 5 June, 2012. Black Drop Effect During Ingress (Under Construction)
Ingress during the 5 June, 2012 transit of Venus, showing the "black drop effect". The effect was observed and imaged with telescopes of different apertures (62, 94, 102mm), and was found to persist longer with smaller aperture optics and/or lower resolution camera settings. It is caused almost entirely by the optics (solar limb darkening may play a minor role), and otherwise is not a characteristic of the sun or Venus. This image is a frame from a 720p video that was taken with an Olympus E-P2 camera on a Vernonscope 94mm refractor telescope having a full aperture solar filter. Taken from Shadow Hills, CA.
More photos of this transit may be added later. Copyright 2012 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Transit of Venus, 5 June, 2012 (3D Stereo)
Some processing was required on one of the two images to make this 3D stereo image of the Venus transit of 5 June, 2012. One of the photos is a stack of a 1/80 second and 1/3200 second exposures that is not processed beyond stacking and adjusting contrast and brightness. In the other image, the sun was shifted slightly to one side, then Venus was shifted an even smaller amount. The motion of venus in front of the sun can cause a pair of images to work as a stereo pair without any processing at all, but only when they are rotated so that the motion of Venus will be purely side to side in the photos. However, the relative motion of Venus would be in a diagonal direction at sunset.
The original photo was taken with an Olympus E-P2 Micro 4/3 camera and a Version 1 Leitz Telyt-R 250mm f/4 lens. The exposures are 1/80 sec. at f/5.6 and 1/3200 second at f/22, with no solar filter. Taken from Shadow Hills, CA.
More photos of this transit may be added later. Copyright 2012 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Equipment Used for 5 June 2012 Transit of Venus (Place Holder)
Several telescopes and lenses were used for the 2012 transit of Venus. In the order of ascending aperure, the telescopes and lenses included:
1.) Leitz Telyt-R 250mm f/4 lens on Olympus E-P2 camera (for 3D sunset photo)
2.) Hassleblad 500C with 350mm f/5.6 lens and V96C digital back (for sequence photo).
3.) Ednar Mirror Scope 500 (500mm f/8 mirror lens with eyepiece), for visual observation of the transit.
4.) Vernonscope 94mm f/7 refractor, for video and photos of the transit with an Olympus E-P2 camera.
5.) Meade 2045 LX3 (102mm f/10) SCT, for close up video of ingress with a Watec video camera.
6.) Meade ETX-105, for passers by to visually observe the transit.
- An atomic clock was used for noting the contact times.
Copyright 2012, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Transit of Mercury. 9 May, 2016 (Clouded Out! But photo of equipment I set up is below.)
Transit of Mercury, 9 May, 2016. (Equipment under a cloudy sky.)
Even though weather prospects were not good for observing the 9 May 2016 transit of Mercury, I set up my equipment anyway. Even if the transit was not visible, I could do mock imaging session to be sure that the equipment was all in order, as a precursor to the 2017 total solar eclipse. From left to right, the equipment includes:
1.) Leica 350mm f/4.8 Telyt-R lens with Leica 2x converter on Olympus E-P2 camera.
2.) Panasonic HDC-SD1 camcorder with a home made 3x converter lens I made in 1991.
3.) Coronado PST, set up to see if Mercury would transit a prominence.
4.) Questar Duplex 3.5 with Panasonic GX7 Micro 4/3 camera.
5.) Ednar Mirror Scope 500, to observe the transit while the other instruments are tied up.
- All of the lenses and telescopes except the Coronado PST have front solar filters.
Copyright 2016 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Transit of Mercury. 11 November, 2019:
Transit of Mercury, 11 November, 2019. Egress.
Egress during the 11 Nov. 2019 transit of Mercury. Taken from Shadow Hills, CA, with a Celestron C5 telescope, 16mm (tbr) Nagler eyepuece, and solar filter. This image is cropped from a 1080p video frame, from a video that was taken with a Fujifilm X-T10 camera and a Fujinon 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 working at 45mm f/5.6, and used for afocal imaging at the eyepiece.
More photos of this transit may be added later. Copyright 2019 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Equipment Used for 11 November 2019 Transit of Mercury (Rear View)
From left to right:
1.) Celestron C5 with 16mm Nagler eyepiece, used visually and for afocal video.
2.) Questar Duplex 3.5 with Fujifilm X-T10 camera, for photos.
3.) Ad Astra III telescope and Panasonic GX7 camera, for video.
4.) Coronado PST telescope with Barlow and Panasonic GX7 camera, for photos and video.
5.) Not shown: Ednar Mirror Scope 500, to observe the transit while the other instruments are tied up.
- An atomic clock is in the background.
Copyright 2019 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Equipment Used for 11 November 2019 Transit of Mercury (Front View)
From right to left:
1.) Celestron C5 with 16mm Nagler eyepiece, used visually and for afocal video.
2.) Questar Duplex 3.5 with Fujifilm X-T10 camera, for photos.
3.) Ad Astra III telescope and Panasonic GX7 camera, for video.
4.) Coronado PST telescope with Barlow and Panasonic GX7 camera, for photos and video.
- All of the telescopes except the Coronado PST have front solar filters.
Copyright 2019 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Appendix F: Solar Prominences of Note in Current and Past Years:


This Chapter Covers Prominences of Note in Past Years. Some of it is Under Construction.
Thus far, this chapter includes prominences from the following dates:
  • 11 May, 2012 (several large prominences; my first composite prominence image) +
  • 9-10 May, 2024 (huge prominences relatively near a large sunspot group) +
  • Photo of the large sunspot group in Active Region AR3664. 9 May, 2024.
Comments:
* If a "+" (plus sign) appears to the right of a line, an image for the listed date appears below.
* If a "-" (minus sign) appears to the right of a line, no images for the listed date appear below.


Solar Prominences of 11 May, 2012:
Solar Prominences of 11 May, 2012 (Composite)
Solar prominences in Hydrogen-Alpha, plus Hydrogen-Alpha surface detail, through a Coronado PST solar telescope. Composite of four 0.77 to 1 second exposures. The front end of a 2x Astrola Barlow lens was used on the 1.25 inch camera adapter to provide enough back focus for an Olympus E-P2 camera. The visible light image at upper right was taken with the same camera, using a 400mm f/5.6 ED Nikkor lens with a Nikon 2x converter and a solar filter.
Copyright 2012 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.


Large (Huge!) Solar Prominences of 9-10 May, 2024:
300,000 KM Wide Solar Prominence of 9 May, 2024, 18:15 PDT.
The large prominence in this picture was the biggest prominence I had ever imaged or observed in person! It is about 0.22 solar diameters (over 300,000 km) wide, and its height is close to 0.08 solar diameters, or 110,000 km. (It's huge!) This photo was taken at on 9 May, 2024, at 18:15 (Pacific), using a Coronado PST solar telescope, 2x Astrola Barlow lens, and Fujifilm X-T10 camera working at ISO 800. Exposure is 1/8 second at f/20. Taken from Shadow Hills, CA. Visually, the prominence looked dimmer than shown, with a lot of detail that usually does not come through in photos. Some detail is visible in shorter exposures, but the shorter exposures did not capture the full extent of the prominence.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

500,000 KM Wide Solar Prominence Pair of 10 May, 2024, 12:20 PDT.
An even larger prominence in the same area on 10 May! (Larger if the span of both is considered.) This pair of prominences span almost 500,000 km! These larger prominences are less than half as bright as the previous day's huge prominence, so the solar photosphere is imaged brighter by comparison. Photo was taken on 10 May, 2024 at 12:20 PDT, using a Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope, 2x Astrola Barlow lens, and Fujifilm X-T10 camera working at ISO 800. Exposure is 1/2 second at f/20. Regions of the prominences that are close to the solar limb are imaged brighter than their visual appearance, because the combination of the PST and a digital camera causes a dim ghost image of the solar limb to influence that area on dimmer features, even after the brightness of the ghost image was reduced in post. Near the bottom of the picture, the earth and moon (as well as the distance between the earth and moon) are shown to scale with the prominence!
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Sunspots in Active Region AR3664 on 9 May, 2024, 18:35 PDT.
This sunspot group in Active Region (AR) 3664 was imaged with an Ad Astra III telescope and a white light solar filter. Color saturation was reduced to remove the orange cast from the filter. The photo isn't particularly sharp because the sun was at a low elevation angle. This sunspot group is probably close to a tie with the third or fourth largest sunspot group I've ever observed. Taken on 9 May, 2024 at 18:35 Pacific time with a Fujifilm X-T10 camera working at ISO 800. Exposure is 1/125 second at f/9.75, through a solar filter. This is one region of the sun that made the news this week. The prominences pictured above are not associated with this region. They are associated with regions that are closer to, or even on, the solar limb. Photo taken from Shadow Hills, CA.
Copyright 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles, All Rights Reserved.

Return to Local Table of Contents


Return to EclipseChaser Home Page

Go to Versacorp Home Page


© Copyright 1979, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2017, 2018, 2023, 2024 Jeffrey R. Charles.
All Rights Reserved.

jcharles *at* eclipsechaser dot com

Document (2024 eclipse page, unpublished) created: xx xxxx, 2024 and onward.
(Some parts created as place holders before eclipse.)
Document draft completed: 23 Mar. 2024 (unpublished).
First uploaded and linked to EclipseChaser.com: 27 Mar. 2024
Last modified: 11 May 2024.
Most recent change: Added images of (huge) prominences of 9-10 May, 2024. (Appendix F.)
Other revisions: 06, 09, 16, 21, 27 Apr; 05 May 2024.