Moon Bites Sun, Mankind Cheers!

The sun sets while still in eclipse as seen from Duluth, Minn. Thursday evening October 23. Credit: Bob King

I hope you all got at least a glimpse at the partial solar eclipse this afternoon. The weather cleared off just in time here for a beautiful view from over Superior Bay in Duluth, Minn. As expected, many of us couldn’t take our eyes off the magnificent sunspot group.

Sometimes clouds can be your friend. Credit: Stuart McDaniel

Although we looked at the eclipse through the telescope and camera back, my friend and I agreed the best views were at 1x magnification using nothing more than mylar and welder’s glass. Both the nibbling moon and sunspots were easy to see, and without a frame around the scene, the Sun felt closer, more natural.  Because we watched from an open site on a bay, dappled sunlight on water added a nice touch.

Fr. Larry Regynski’s niece creates pinholes with her hand and uses it to project crescent suns on the wall.  Credit: Fr. Larry Regynski

65% of the Sun was covered for us, and while Sun brightness normally drops off near sunset, there was no question that everything around us looked dimmer than normal with half the Sun gone.

Here are a few photos to enjoy. If you took one you’d like to share, please e-mail it to me at and I’ll put it up on the blog.

Still keeping an eye on possible auroras tonight. Right now, all is quiet, but I suspect that big sunspot group sooner or later will crank up the heat.

Eclipse season is over now – the next of note for the Americas will be a total lunar eclipse on April 4th next year.

This is how the eclipse looked in a small 3.5-inch refracting telescope. Credit: Bob King
Amateur astronomer Mike Sangster holds up a photographic solar filter over the eclipsed sun Thursday. Credit: Bob King
Gorgeous! Dimmed by haze and high clouds, the eclipsed sun sets in the west Thursday evening. Credit: Mike Sangster
Me with my head stuck in a telescope … as usual. To observe and photograph the eclipse I used a 94mm refractor fitted with a photographic solar filter. Most exposures were shot at 1/4000-second at f/14. Credit: Mike Sangster
Sweet sunset shot in Owatonna, Minn. taken with a 210mm telephoto at ISO 100, f/18 and 1/4000-second. Credit: Gary Johnson
Mike Sangster crossed one hand over the over to create small gaps that acted as pinhole projectors. He managed 3 crescent suns on the side of his car. Credit: Bob King
Two crescent suns almost lost in the woods. Left: From Duluth’s Skyline Parkway near Bardon Peak from Art Johnston. Right: From the Pike Lake boat ramp taken by Guy Sander

14 Responses

  1. Bob

    I can’t thank you enough for steering me to the Rainbow Symphony web site for solar filters several weeks ago. These are very reasonably priced and offer a nice view. I got a set for my 20/80 binos and have shared the views with friends, family, and strangers and they have all said, “cool, thanks for the look.” Especially today’s eclipse. I will only take half the credit. Your influence touches way beyond your readers, I am sure.

    I had been watching smaller sunspots, then the beginnings of the massive spot now in view. Reading your recent commentary solidified my wonder if it was going to be special. Viewed in real time, it really makes one ponder the power and immensity of the cosmos, and wish for more.

    Thanks again!


    1. astrobob

      Hi Bob,
      Thank you so much for writing. Glad you got a filter in time. I like what you said about how seeing the immensity making you wish for more. Indeed.

  2. Michael Sangster


    It was a great eclipse! Had a good time viewing the eclipse at Park Point.

    I like your picture with the reflection on the water.

  3. Edward M. Boll

    Naked eye magnification with a number 16 dark goggles showed an awesome sight. I was not able to get my first sight till 5, because of work and the clouds had swallowed the Sun by 5, but you could tell that the darkened part of the Sun was different after several minutes as the Moon moved across the Sun. Seeing a dark spot on the Sun, reminded of me of watching Venus cross it 2 years ago. Nearly half the Sun was covered from where I live. Waiting for the big one in 2017, on my brother’s 50th birthday. My wife’s nephew pastors a church in Eldon, MO not too far south of the total path.

      1. Troy

        I’m still sifting through my images, I thought I had a flock of birds taking off. Looked very sweet in preview, I’m still hoping to find it.
        I don’t have a good western horizon so I went up to the local high school. There was some event going on up there and thought it was great I was able to give quite a few of the curious a good look at the eclipse. Usually astronomy for me is 3 a.m. and a very solitary activity, thought it was great contrast to have some social interaction.

        1. astrobob

          I tend toward the solitary side too but enjoy the social interaction through class or occasional outings with the local club and others. Hope you can find the birds shot.

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