New Moon On Monday

Yes. It was a new moon. They don’t get any newer than in an eclipse.

And it was a Monday.

So here we go:

Official Video…blocked from being played elsewhere as usual
And I can’t find one that’s not blocked. Sorry…

The Event

I am going to talk about the event here, the adventure of going to see it and how I took the pictures I am showing, but I’m not going to discuss the science (much); I will save that for Saturday (with, probably, some of the same pictures).

Where did I end up going? I concluded on Sunday Morning that the best shot would be Indiana. The page I was looking at showed it as “green” for cloud cover; huge swaths of Texas were red…now including Eagle Pass, which was yellow until Saturday.

So I drove to St. Louis on Sunday, and then re-checked the weather guess…Indiana had gone yellow, but much of Texas had also gone yellow. So I decided (tentatively) to go to Southern Illinois and assess with eyeballs. I ended up at Rend Lake off I-57, south of the intersection with I-64; specifically at the Ken Gray trailhead. I got there in plenty of time.

Over the course of the next few hours a number of other people also joined us in the parking lot. One group had a fully professional video camera with them; apparently they’re making a movie of some sort. Another had a 600 mm lens (a big white!). He set up on the other side of the road.

Although sometimes there was a thin haze (looking like a dispersed contrail, but much greater in extent), it would often clear up. There happened to be one of these during totality but it impeded our view too little to notice if at all.

I did not buy a new camera (despite my joke from last time); I did buy a new 20-stop neutral density filter. And then I put it and the lens on a cheaper camera (a Canon M6 mk II). Why? Because that camera has a crop sensor and the pixel density is much higher. In other words, the images of the Sun that I took would be higher resolution. I put a wide angle lens on the expensive camera hoping to capture the planets and comet during totality. (The comet, it turned out, was a pipe dream; no one knowledgeable expected to be able to see it, and in this context I was not knowledgeable.)

The tripod lets you swivel 360 around an axis, which can be tilted. I decided to try to tilt it at about the same angle as the sun’s path across the sky, to try to avoid having the Sun appear to rotate in the field of view. There’s no actual way to make this work since (except on the first day of Spring and Autumn) the Sun doesn’t follow a great-circle arc across the sky. I’d have needed an additional wedge between the tripod “head” and the camera. However, I probably came pretty close; at least the Moon seemed to exit the Sun opposite of where it entered. Since I didn’t have a drive motor anyway, it didn’t matter much.

I was in touch with someone in Texas (a bit further northeast than Eagle Pass); they weren’t much interested in photography but I got not-very-good cell phone pics taken through some sort of red filter. So I could report to all that it had started in Texas. I was relieved to hear that the Moon hadn’t disappeared overnight (that would be just my damned luck).

So here’s the Sun just before the festivities started (f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO 100, ND 20 filter. An ND 20 filter reduces the light by roughly a factor of a million without changing the color.)

Note a big, bold sunspot just above the center, another one further out at about 9:30.

The Sun Gets Mooned

In an eclipse the lunar farside faces the Sun. Please, it’s “far side,” not “dark side.” It faces away from us; it’s not dark. Especially not here; it’s lit.

(OK…I suppose it’s “dark” in the same sense that the “Dark Ages” were dark. Not literally dark, but few records were left so we have trouble “seeing” them from our vantage point today. Likewise until spaceflight we had no idea what the far side looked like.)

More importantly, though, the far side could be considered the backside, and so during an eclipse the Moon is pointing its backside at the Sun. Meaning the Sun is getting Mooned.

OK, childish humor aside…until the next time.

I took one shortly after the start; the Moon is moving in from the lower right.

And you can see the progression. I got one in fact just before the sun spot got occluded.

By now, the lighting looks strange. Even a bit before this if you put down the eclipse glasses and looked around, there was this funny twilight quality to the light, though it was from overhead. Seconds before totality it got downright spookily dark.

And then totality hit. And the eclipse glasses went away.

And yes, its impact is a hit. Like flipping a light switch, suddenly you see the solar corona, surrounding the blackest black you have ever seen…the actual dark side of the Moon. Looking around it was like a super bright moonlit night, probably brighter than any moonlit night ever is (even when it’s a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious moon).

I was close enough to I-57 to hear that truck traffic continued unabated during the eclipse. Hard to believe that some people either didn’t care, didn’t know…or simply couldn’t interrupt their work (if it were someone doing CPR or fighting a fire I could understand!).

This eclipse was long. I hastily unscrewed the filter from the lens, and took more pictures. (I probably should have reduced the ISO to 250 or so.)

This one shows the whole corona. I’m going to go back to my regular crop after this one. Notice around the edges of the Moon, a few pink areas. Those are prominences (flares). Remember that the Moon is still moving towards the upper left. This picture was early (as in, just as fast as I could unscrew the filter!!!!) and prominences up near the top are most visible.

Note in this one that a prominence at about 5 o’clock is very visible. In fact it was easy to see with the naked eye. Because of the Sun’s position and orientation in the sky, that one looked like it was at the bottom of the disc to our eyes. Closer to the end of totality the one on the right hand side became visible too but wasn’t as bright as the one at the bottom.

The prominence at the right is actually showing an arc.

But all good things must come to an end. And end it did.

When even the slightest sliver of the photosphere (the visible “surface” of the Sun) shows up, the corona is gone. As you can see in the picture above.

Our celebrity sunspot is back!

And here with the Moon just about to uncover the last sliver of the Sun’s disc, it’s over.

This eclipse was far better than the one in 2017, what with all the prominences and the greater duration of totality (I actually put the filter back on too soon, took it off and took the last two pictures).

If you missed it due to apathy or negligence…well it sucks to be you!

I could see as soon as I got back on the interstate that traffic northbound (to Chicago and St. Louis) was already jammed. And I was tens of miles away from St. Louis and hundreds from Chicago.

So I went south, intending to catch I-40 west at Memphis. It was longer, but probably faster. Even there the last 10 miles before the I-55/I-40 interchange took about an hour; Memphis too had eclipse jams, made worse by police blocking off exits on the way in.

I stopped in Conway, AR, and didn’t get going until late on Tuesday (I had just had two short nights and made up for it bigtime). I finally got home at 2AM Tuesday.

Now for the bad news. I was only able to see Jupiter and Venus. The comet was too faint. Mercury was simply lost in the glare. And Mars and Saturn were down in the trees.

And I had to guess about the right exposure to try to capture them on the wide angle lens. And I don’t know how bad my guess was, because I took two totally blown out white rectangles for pictures. Was I off by twelve stops? eighteen? Who knows. I didn’t even save them.

Hopefully on Saturday there will be a “regular” science post.

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Great work, Steve! Thank you for sharing these images and your experience.

Barb Meier

It seems like a miracle to me that during our eclipses, the Moon can totally hide the Sun, even for a little bit. If the Moon was smaller or farther away from us, we wouldn’t see the Sun hidden behind the Moon. We might just see a Moon as a marble and the Sun as a thick ring. There are lots of other things that would be different, like the tides. If I were smarter, I might comprehend all that the Moon’s placement, size, and orbit impact about life on Earth. To me, it’s a miracle.

Valerie Curren

It’s God’s deliberate design (imo)!


Thank you for sharing your experience. 😎
Nice pictures


To me, I think you got the “money shot” where there were prominences at 1:30, 3:00, and 5:00. Beautiful photography.


So, did you notice any natural effects? Birds plummeting to the ground, farm animals keeling over, dogs hiding under trucks?

Any spiritual effects? Have you felt a great desire to embrace Zoroastrianism?


I’m not sure that would have been everyone’s first guess. Eaten by Haitian cannibals might be right up there….

Valerie Curren

 😂   😂   😂 


My local friend ‘Arbalest’ flew to Indianapolis to see it.


Superb read. Thanks for sharing.

Hope to be around and having a clue in 2045, for the next Total Eclipse.


They happen much more frequently than that — but may be over some faraway part of the world (such as, perhaps, the Philippines)…..

2045 is just the next one over the US.

Last edited 1 month ago by cthulhu

Understand that. IIRC, Steve or someone posted roughly every 18 months, somewhere on Earth.

As awe inspiring as I consider Total Eclipse’ to be, very few countries, if any, I’d travel to to see one. Something for me to look into, ideally in a few months. If I can remember to do so.

Deplorable Patriot

I’m insulted. Really. You were here and didn’t say anything? One other person did that.

What’s the deal with “get there itis?” An hour or two isn’t going to kill people.

Deplorable Patriot

Were you on the main interstates or 270/255?

In the middle of the night, it’s all quiet around here.


I told you that you could’ve crashed on her couch…..

Deplorable Patriot

Maybe a cousin or two. I don’t even fit on the couch, and I’m barely five feet tall.


You could have crashed on her Procrustean couch….


Don’t knock it…..

[See Kingston Trio above]

Last edited 1 month ago by cthulhu
Deplorable Patriot

6 am is late for rush hour here. Don’t know or care about KC. They are uppity about it all. Seriously, they don’t even have a hockey team.

I-64? You mean US highway 40?????????????????

Yeah, in these parts we don’t change nomenclature easily.

Deplorable Patriot

Morning rush starts at about 5, but Tuesday it was not all that. The people here were out of it.

Deplorable Patriot

Yeah, the city was DEAD AS A DOORNAIL on Monday. Just about everybody was on I-55 or 44 headed south.

Valerie Curren

That’s a really early start for that. I think ours is trickling around 6:30am…Since Hubby leaves for work at 3:30am now he never has issues, in the am at least 🙂

Valerie Curren

TY for sharing your pics & your journey a bit with us. Beautiful shots you got!!! Hope you had fun in the process too 🙂




What, with De Pat???

Yumpin’ Yiminy….I bring her flowers all the time and she wishes you had dropped by to visit. I can only wish I were so abused.



I sincerely wish we had some backchannel, because I have much to say without ladies present.

Valerie, if you’re around, can you tell him?

Valerie Curren

Gotta take it to the U Tree?

I may be a woman, but I ain’t no lady 😉 Have at it 🙂


Be that way.

De Pat saying, “I’m insulted. Really.” does not mean she was, in fact, insulted. It means that she would have been very pleased to have met with Steve and that she is disappointed that she did not.

Now you, Valerie, just confirm that this is the way this sort of thing works…..and, hopefully, I don’t get into further trouble with either Steve or De Pat.

Valerie Curren

What Exactly do you want me to “confirm”? I don’t use the phrase “I’m insulted. Really.” myself so hesitate to interpret (if that’s what you’re asking from me)…

Last edited 1 month ago by Valerie Curren
Valerie Curren

Hey Steve, I reread the DP thread & I don’t think she was actually attacking you. It’s hard to know what tone of “voice” someone is using in the written word but that verbiage didn’t seem Exactly hostile to me, but perhaps just a bit regionally territorial.

I’m guessing that you might “hear” a certain “tone” in that person’s, or certain other people’s, voice(s) based on previous somewhat negative encounters (on & off over the years), especially in discussions of faith, or the lack thereof. From my outside view this “getting mooned” conversation doesn’t have that vibe…

Most of the comments on your post are quite positive & thankful. You clearly went Way Above & Beyond to get this experience & most, & perhaps even All, of us appreciate it…AND You!!! Hugs & Prayers 🙂

Valerie Curren

IRL or here in the Tree?

I don’t get people bagging on each other, at least in mean ways. We do plenty of sarcasm & slapping each other around in my corner of the universe.

I Really Appreciate your sharing of your time, talents, & teachings on Many Topics!!!

Valerie Curren

By the way, as your pics clearly show, there is a pretty big difference between the totality w/ the corona viewing & the near totality, like what we could witness in our neighborhood (allegedly 99.6% totality). I don’t regret not getting to the totality because it was enjoyable to be with family & neighbors as the eclipse was progressing. It also was necessary to be closer to home as I was helping my daughter w/ her daughter & her taxes & also working periodically on mine.

When I finally got to look through eclipse glasses near the end I saw something about half way between your last 2 pics. No regrets though. Hopefully the memory of my granddaughter playing in our yard as the event unfolded will stick with me for a very long time!

I had a Great Conversation about what’s Really Going On w/ one of my neighbors too!


Beautiful photos!

I could see the total eclipse from my home. It was dramatic because there was cloud cover. The total eclipse was spectacularly “unveiled” as the clouds moved away completely for a couple minutes during the corona phase. Other phases appeared and disappeared with the movement of the clouds.

The sudden drop in temperature and the night-like darkness were amazing. And some clever folks shot off beautiful, low level fireworks on the nearby bike path.

Brave and Free

Great report, thanks for posting!


I was a little further northeast from you closer to Indy. The prominence near the bottom was definitely visible with the naked eye. What surprised me was that it was still quite light when just the smallest sliver of the sun was visible.