CHASING THE SHADOW, HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD. By Nomi and Alberto Levy
As an avid eclipse chaser, one always wonders if you selected the right
spot along the totality path of a solar eclipse and hope for clear skies on
that day. This time Turkey had good chances, and the city of Kastamonu had
accommodations for a small group of (11) Americans, Mexicans and Israelis, as
well as a guide tour and driver in a small air conditioned bus.
At 6:00am on eclipse day, a shocking low cloud cover awakened us in an
instant, and right away we began plans to move out. As the morning progressed
some blue patches of sky began to appear. We arrived a couple of hours later to
a small local airport where a group of Japanese eclipse chasers were mounting
their scopes and cameras. Scouting the area and only a few hundred yards from
them, my wife Nomi discovered a beautiful clear opening in a pine tree forest,
that provided a very comfortable shade and natural surroundings. The sky was
clear by then. We set up our equipment, and waited for first contact, but at
minus 15 minutes, clouds began to fill the sky and a worrisome face showed on
everyone. We missed first contact and we wished not to miss totality.
I had planned for a sequence shot every 10 minutes in one slide frame. The
slide tells the story with four missing shots as well as a photo taken by my
daughter Essy that includes Venus, totality and a cloud approaching the corona.
My equipment consisted of two 80mm. Dia. F/6.25 refractors, mounted on a
plataform side by side on a portable self designed mount. Both with Barlow
lenses to increase the effective focal length. One telescope with a 35mm
camera shot partial phases, diamond rings and prominences. On the second
telescope, an adapted body of a medium format camera and a home made designed
vignetting disk in the light path, that creates a similarity with a radial
density filter. The corona photograph is from a single medium format negative,
printed in my garage darkroom. No stacking or digitizing.
After the eclipse we packed and continued our tour in Turkey, a beautiful
country with very interesting history of ancient cultures, the Ottoman Empire
and the new Republic, with a thriving clothing, ceramic and carpet industries,
great produce and most of all, very nice and warm people. Yes, we left the day
before the terrible earthquake and we feel a great sorrow for those people and
their significant loss.
Photo 1.- Diamond Ring and prominences. 80mm refractor at f/16
Kodak Royal Gold 100 ASA, exp. 1/1000sec.
Photo 2.- Baily’s Beads, same as above
Photo 3.- Totality and Solar Prominences, same as above
Photo 4.- Detailed Solar Corona and prominences. 80 mm refractor at f/13
Film: Agfa Optima, 100 ASA, medium format #120, exp: 1.5 sec.,
With a vignetting disk in the light path. Some darkroom
Photo 5.- Second Diamond Ring and Bead. Same as in photo #1.
Essy Levy’s photos.
Photo 6.- Totality and Venus, in a cloud gap.
Zoom to a 100 mm. F/5, Fujicolor 100 ASA, Exp: ˝ sec.