FALLBROOK – The most dramatic astronomical event of 2017 was revealed Aug. 21. That momentous day was the first time in 26 years or since 1991 that a total solar eclipse was visible in the continental United States in a 70 miles wide corridor from Oregon to South Carolina.
Millions of people witnessed the eclipse, some for the first and possibly the only time in their lives, as the next one won’t occur in the U.S. until April 2024. Most people living in Southern California only heard about it or saw it on television.
For those who would like to relive the experience or would like to experience the vicarious thrill of seeing and hearing about this incredible occurrence, Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society invites everyone to look back at this amazing phenomenon, Thursday, Jan. 11, when guest speaker Chuck Houser, a well-known geologist and field photographer, shares his adventure to Payette, Idaho, photographing the “2017 Great American Solar Eclipse.”
Always fascinated with photographing difficult night or dark sky things such as lightning, comets and meteor showers, Houser began planning his eclipse photography challenge when he first learned of it in 2009. With a team of like-minded enthusiasts, planning and preparations ramped up in early 2017.
Payette, Idaho, was chosen as the team’s location as it was in the centerline of “totality,” the short two-to-six minute time period during which people and cameras don’t need solar filters, and they can see the sun’s corona, solar flares, stars and planets in an effectively night sky condition. A professional engineer and self-professed “science geek,” Houser has pursued many unusual natural occurrences in the world and the universe.
His presentation will outline the process of preparing for and photographing the eclipse in several ways, from start to totality with pictures taken every five minutes during the partial phases and every five seconds during totality, which was only one minute and 53 seconds. From “first bite” sunspots and the sun’s corona to solar flares, Houser will also show a 360 degree panorama photo during totality where it looks like “sunset” in every direction. He will bring the cameras used, including the equatorial mount tripod and clock drive that supported his main camera during the eclipse.
Houser encourages others who witnessed the eclipse and took photographs to bring their pictures to show and tell of their experience and photographic processes. Anyone fascinated by the wonders of the universe and those interested in wanting to photograph the 2024 eclipse will want to attend this presentation to obtain information on the required gear and pointers on producing successful results.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society meeting room at 123 W. Alvarado Street. It is free and open to the public. An opportunity drawing featuring several eclipse related items will be offered and mineral specimens will be sold at a 20 percent discount. Light refreshments will be served. Plenty of free parking is available on the street and in the parking lot across the street.
Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, educational and recreational organization. For inquiries, call (760) 728-1130 or go to www.fgms.org.