All eclipses of 2017

All eclipses of 2017

Four countries, four adventures, four unforgottable experiences. One of dreams of eclipse chaser’s is to see – or better to successfully photograph – all solar and lunar eclipses of one year. It is not easy so far, considering traveling possibilities and, of course, the weather conditions. And to me, this dream finally came true. The image shows all 4 eclipses of 2017, both solar and lunar in February and then in August. Image of each eclipse has been captured with similar equipment which allowed me to add them together in this overview in correct angular sizes of the Moon.

The first phenomenon of the year was naked-eye visible, deep penumbral lunar eclipse of 11th February. I was in the Czech Republic that night, trying to deal with very wayward winter weather. Spending the weekend night at my cottage, I could have really wonderful view to the eclipsed Moon very high over the horizon. Cloudy weather, however, didn’t allow me to see the maximum of the eclipse, but just 12 minutes before (in fact the precise time of full Moon phase), just for a five seconds the sky around the Moon cleared up and I made the lucky shot. Even a quarter of hour before mid-eclipse the Moon was deeply darkened on its upper edge.

A two weeks after, when the Moon made half of its orbit, deep annular solar eclipse occured on 26th February, visible from Chile, Argentina and Angola. With dreamt clear weather, I witnessed the sky show very close to the central line of the eclipse in Argentinian province Chubut, nearby Facundo city. For the photography, this phenomenon was a huge challenge as a digital camera cannot deal with such high dynamic range and I used classical film FujiColor Superia 200 to capture both photosphere and chromosphere (with a hint of solar corona). Story of this successfull eclipse expedition was, however, not so happy after all. Just days after I was victim of horrible car robbery and all of my data and equipment were irrevocably stolen in Argentine city Bariloche. Luckily, just the film with eclipse data was only one thing what thieves left behind in the car (and didn’t demage!) and so I could deliver it to prof. Miloslav Druckmüller, who produced such a spectacular results, combining my data from data of NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory with his software NAFE. Speaking about the robbery itself, I would like to deeply thank to all friends, especially from TWAN – The World At Night and the European Southern Observatory, without whom I wouldn’t be able to continue in the photography so fast and most likely even this all-eclipses image wouldn’t be produced at all!

In summer 2017 I moved in ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany, to prepare new version of ESO sites virtual tours. And here came the memorable evening of 7th August with rising partially eclipsed Moon. Even if my location didn’t allow me to see the maximum phase of the eclipse, it was literally sky show. Especially the moment of the ongoning dusk, when the rising Moon appeared in the Belt of Venus, above border of Earth’s shadow in our atmosphere, surrounded by the anticrepuscular rays, was such unique to me. I was watching the whole show from the roof of the headquarters, enjoying calm and warm summer night.

The last and the most expected eclipse of the year, the total solar eclipse on 21st August, I watched from the Guernsey State Park, Wyoming, USA, as a member of Solar Wind Sherpas group led by prof. Shadia Habbal. We had fantastic clear skies and the totality took a central stage for 2 minutes 19 seconds. The most amazing part was the second diamond ring with huge prominence over the lunar limb. Using telephoto lens, given to me from inheritance of my friend Václav Knoll (one of the biggest enthusiasits for solar eclipses I’ve ever met), I could see the second solar eclipse of the saros period no. 140 after 1999, which Václav was the one who managed me to see it. R.I.P., Václav, and thank you for everything!

I would like to thank fro deep support to Daniel Sokol, prof. Miloslav Druckmüller, Tatana and Katerina Horalkova, Zuzana Kuljovska, TWAN – The World At Night, the European Southern Observatory and Peter Aniol, the ASTELCO company.

Also I would like to acknowledge great support for the USA eclipse expedition, which was made possible by grants from NASA, NSF, the American Astronomical Society to the PI, Shadia R. Habbal of the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii, and thank to all the members of the Solar Wind Sherpas expedition.