All images on this page © Glenn Schneider. Eclipse imaging in collaboration with Joel Moskowitz, unless otherwise noted. 
(See "Imaging Details" for additional and technical notes on the eclipse photos below).
Please contact for reproduction/rehosting.

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The total solar eclipse (TSE) of 21 August 2017 had been long anticipated as the first TSE in the contiguous 48 United States in 38 years. The path of totality touched 14 states, diagonally crossing the country from Oregon to South Carolina and brought the lunar umbral shadow and path of totality in easy reach of tens of millions of people.  For me, it was a true luxury to do a TSE as a "road trip" (from Tucson, Arizona) rather than cramming all that "eclipse stuff" as best possible into airline luggage!  The last TSE I had actually traveled to by road (to which I went by bus from New York City to Cap Chat, Canada, as I did not yet have a driver's licence) was for TSE 1972.  For my 34th TSE, I had picked the location for the TSE 2017 observing site, Madras, Oregon, quite some years ago based on highest probability of least cloud obscuration anywhere along the path of totality.  Concurrence of that was confirmed by later studies by the real experts  (i. e., Jay Anderson) with Madras in a climatological "sweet spot", and so there the game would be afoot in 2017.


As expected, nearly three years out, finding lodging in Madras proper had become problematic as word of "the Great American Eclipse" to come began to locally spread.  Our solution for that was an Airb&b rental of a 4-bedroom house in nearby Redmond for a small group of "die-hard" eclipse chasers from around the globe (myself a "local" from the USA) to share.  The house, and its owner, were both great (I would highly recommend if anyone should need future lodging in central Oregon; Thanks, Brad!).  While the house was fine logistically, it was near southern limit and our plans were for observation on or near centerline.  With then a little bit of "hunting", we potentially found the "perfect" spot in Madras for an observing site, and later we were very gratefully able to arrange its use, at the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center (COARC) run by Oregon State University.  I had proposed/requested the use of the facilty/property for (then assumed) about three dozen eclipse chasers to join me there to the facility Director, Carol Tollefson, who was extremely accommodating and, I am happy to say, agreed to host us there.


The COARC site is just a few km south of the TSE 2017 dynamical centerline, just north of the Madras regional airport. It is north of town in the middle of sparsely populated acres and acres of rural farmland, with near horizon views all around, and is adjacent to the main highway but set back from it. Logistically, a perfect eclipse site. "Sparsely populated" however, for the area, did not hold as after this assessment a new blip appeared one day on Google maps right next to the COARC property.  What had been just empty farmland morphed into the site for the "Oregon Solartown Campground" for about 40,000 campers arriving in droves in cars, camping vehicles, with tents, etc.  All just quite literally a 2 minute walk from the normally empty farmlands that are COARCs and their neighbors. The massing of crowds prior to eclipse day was quite amazing to see. "Carmageddon" and total infrastructure meltdown (cell phones, food, porta-potties, gasoline) had been direly predicted.  But the Madras municipal planners had done an extraordinary job in preparations and, though some slow traffic was encountered post-eclipse, it was not at all the "show stopper" many had been predicting.  Still, outside COARC, it was bizarre to see this packed acreage as far as the eye could see of tents, campers, and cars, all neatly parked in their cubicles of space, row upon row upon row, right across the highway from our empty farm fields.

In the end, it seemed to have worked out perfectly for all concerned.  For "us", my initial estimate of three dozen umbraphiles had turned out as a 'group' of about 100 colleagues, and eclipse-chaser friends and associates at COARC.  Despite the uptick in numbers all was perfect thanks to the great hospitality and receptiveness of Oregon State University's COARC facility and its Director.  I cannot thank them, and her, enough for providing us with a spectacular venue for the eclipse, to camp for some the day prior and (importantly) with rest room access.  Once again, from all of us, Carol, thanks for having us at your facility. It was spectacular and a wonderful experience.

"+" marks the spot on the COARC facility

Left: Carol Tollefson (COARC Director), Right: G. Schneider (UofA)

Saturday, Aug 19 – COARC- eclipse observers begin to arrive

Looking east across the COARC property, adjacent to Hwy 26, to the "Solartown Campground".  Click on the image to see a larger scale picture.
Click HERE to see a drone video of the campground and  of COARC from the air (it is something to see!)

Safe (and tasty) Partial Phase Pinhole Projection

Total Eclipse Photos

Though said uncountable times before, no photograph, image, video, or any other recording of totality can even come close to doing justice to the spectacle of totality.  Images provide remembrances, and (sometimes) quantitative metrics for investigative studies.  But the sheer beauty and complexity of the solar corona and attendant limb and shadow phenomena are irreproducible.  Coronal photons are best captured on the retina and processed by the visual cortex!  CCD images, just like film from days of old, pale compared to the "real thing" Still, we try (and fail) to capture a sliver of the fleeting awe inspired by Totality.  Here are a few, even though they  don't even come close...

Totality comes to Madras —
photo courtesy of  Laurie Koloski

DIAMOND RING! – The Umbra has arrived!

The last photospheric bead of sunlight shining brightly, but briefly, through the profile of a lunar valley dwindles and 'dies' in the transition to totality as the umbra arrives and the corona becomes visible.  Click HERE to display/download the TSE2017 2m 05s "MOONWALK" (neither Michael Jackson's nor Neil Armstrong's) from Contact 2 to Contact 3.


Seconds prior to the 'diamond ring' above (frame 4 in this sequence) a quickly shrinking photospheric arc is broken into "Baily's beads" punctuated by  the lunar topography (selenography) until, finally in its disappearance, flanked by chromospheric (red) light, TOTALITY begins.



With the Sun replaced by a dark 'hole' in the sky, the magnificent, tenuous, atmosphere of the Sun is unveiled.  The 'inner' corona (within 1 solar radius of the limb) reveals complex structures with equatorial plumes 'looping' around prominences, and, orthogonal, delicate polar brushes.


The full extent of the highly asymmetric corona, shaped by solar winds and magnetic fields, extends tenuously far beyond the visually (and photographically) detectable outer regions. Despite a (non-photometric) sky in Madras somewhat compromised by very thin veils of forest fire smoke and high cloud lowering a bit the coronal contrast, fine structures were beautifully seen and recorded to 6 - 8 solar radii.  Here the bright star Regulus is seen in the left side of the frame, and Nu Leonis at V_mag = 5.3, a fainter point to the upper right.
(Weighted and digitally filtered combination of 8 image frames with log-ramp exposure times from 5 ms to 500 ms; see Imaging Details)

(6 of them...)

The same set of raw frames used to produce the outer coronal image above was re-procesed differently with a goal, not to render the corona as it appears "to the eye", but to enable the detection of fainter stars in the field.  Four others in addition to Regulus and Nu Leo are seen.  Both HD 87647 and HD 86419 are visual magnitude ~ 7.4 at heliocentric angular distances of 3.9 and 4.8 solar radii, respectively  on opposite sides of the Sun.  The more distant of these, HD  86419, is a more challenging detection, appearing fainter relative to the local outer corona plus sky background. Fainter still is HD 87884 at visual magnitude 8.13 seen only 3 arc minutes NW of Regulus.  To better visualize this faint star, see the image of that part of the field at 6x larger scale as shown below.  The sixth star?  The Sun, of course (in eclipse)!


In the most deeply exposed raw frames, the outer corona at large heliocentric angles was "washed out" due to aerosol scattering from smoke in the air. However, surface features on the New Moon itself illuminated by Earthshine were faintly recorded; e. g., in the 2.5 s exposure raw frame shown on the left.  With suitable dynamic range and contrast enhancement, and spatial filtering, the otherwise veiled lunar topography is revealed - as shown in the fully processed imaged on the right derived from the 2.5 s raw frame.  So, for those for whom TSE 2017 was their first total solar eclipse, it was also the first time you can say that you actually saw the New Moon.  Cool!  (Click HERE to compare this image to a higher signal-to-noise image of (most of) the lunar surface recovered from a longest exposed 8 s exposure, even though the 8 s raw image was saturated in the corona from the lunar limb to about 3 solar radii.)

Oh! WOW! (Coronal Structure)

With  only a small amount of gradient edge enhancement via adaptive spatial filtering of a high dynamic range (azimuthal-median radial-gradient collapsed) image, derived from  ten raw images obtained by Benno Kolland and Jay Friedland (see Imaging Details), many intricate details of the 3D coronal structure, seen in 2D sky-plane projection, are revealed.  Beyond about 8 solar radii coronal detection was sky-limited by scattered light originating outside of the umbra due to airborne particulate from smoke and thin clouds.
(Weighted and digitally filtered combination of 10 image frames with roughly log-ramp exposure times from 5 ms to 1000 ms and 2.5x sensitivity gain in longest exposure; see Imaging Details)


This is the same image as the above "Oh! WOW" view of the corona, but 'unwrapped' about the heliocenter in a (as viewed disk-on) polar projection, i.e., everywhere in the corona is "up" against the solar gravity gradient.  This provides an interesting, and morphologically, informative view of the coronal structures on a variety of spatial scales.  The black rectangular region is the polar projected, obscured, solar photosphere from (bottom) zero to 1 solar radii, upward, from the heliocenter.  The  top of the unwrapped image is 8 solar radii from the heliocenter and the bright "central" coronal streamer can be seen extending (faintly) to the top of the field. (Yes, Benno, this was derived from your images!)
Click HERE for an scale-annotated image.



'Nuff said.


Heralding the end of a truly awe-inspiring 2m 04s totality at the COARC facility in Madras, in the blink of an eye as the moon nearly ended its traverse across the occulted photosphere, an arc of the Sun's chromosphere glowing in pure H-alpha red emission emerged - punctuated by the irregular profile of the Moon's silhouette.  The location of the 3rd contact diamond ring about to sparkle (see below) was immediately adjacent to the mid-arc central prominence.

TRANSITION FROM TOTALITY  (No.... come back!!!!)

And then -- (in reverse) third contact -- the egress diamond ring, Baily's beads and ... was over :-( 
July 2, 2019 now seems a long way off, but preparations have begun for a next sojourn into the lunar umbra.

Click HERE or on the above image to see at a larger scale.


• All raw images (except for the wide-field + horizon view, and the "Oh! WoW!" picture and derived polar projection of the corona) were acquired by Joel Moskowitz using a Nikon D810 camera with a Sigma 150 - 600 mm zoom lens @ 600 mm ELF f/8, ISO 200 with an Astrotrack tracker.

• Raw images for the  "Oh! WoW!" picture (as shown here unprocessed) were acquired by Benno Kolland and Jay Friedland  with a Canon 7D camera with a Canon EF 70 - 200 mm zoom lens @ 200 mm at f/5.6 ISO 100 - 250. 

• A third telescopic camera was planned with a 1.2 meter focal length f/10 Nikon achromatic refractor objective.  All three  systems were under SEM computer control, but a non-repeatable (of course) interface failure of undetermined origin on the third system occurred just minutes prior to totality (also, of course) and no images were obtained on the long(est) focal length camera.  :-(  None-the-less, we consider the glass 2/3 full rather than 1/3 empty.  :-)

• All digital raw image reduction, multi-image combination, post-processing, and composition was done by Glenn Schneider.



Photos contributed by: Aaron S. Brown, Benno Kolland, Laurie Koloski, Ed Olszewski, Michael Brown, Glenn Schneider, Maia Schneider, Jeff Jolin


Early in the morning diminishing high-cloud threatened, but thinned out nicely by eclipse time.  Near-sunrise view of Mt. Jefferson.

Looking South from the observing area

Looking West from the observing area

Looking East from the edge of COARC over "Solartown Campground"

Looking South along Hwy 26 west of COARC -- not-quite "carmageddon"

Edward Olszewski and Jill Bechtold

Joel Moskowitz

Steve Kolodny commands the attention of gathering umbraphiles

Glenn and Maia Schneider, Karl  Handelsman, Benno Kolland, Jay Friedland and more...

Under hazy pre-C1 skies Joel M. gathers a minyan for a traditional Jewish prayer  -->

... and like the Red Sea parting, the schmutz thins and umbraphiles take "the best seats in the house"

"Superstitious"?  Well: Adding to Joel M.'s  completed recitation, the eclipse flag (never clouded out after 32 times in the umbra), facing upward to fend off clouds, makes its post-C1 appearance.

Just a bit of a thin haze... but we'll take it!

Glenn Schneider setting up the coelostat fed 1.2 m "lugascope" and 400mm camera

"Umbraphile lane" running north/south paralleling the COARC entrance road.

Old time AOSers Eric Brahm & Bert Gold.

G. Schneider, Moshe Bain (Brazil), Charles Cooper (Cambodia)

Michael (left) Brown - an old friend and 1st generation AOSer, and  Aaron W.  Brown

Focus, focus, focus...

Jay Friedland & Craig Small mix and dole out  Egg Creams for a traditional post-C3 celebration

Glenn, the Jollins, Jay and Benno in post-eclipse euphoria

Packing up for the long drive home...


Following our traditional post-Totality celebration with made-on-the-spot New York Egg Creams (with FOX's U-bet chocolate syrup, of course), Jay Friedland, Karl Handelsman  and Benno Kolland astounded us with a rousing  premier a capella performance of an original (as to the lyrics) operatic rendition of their "Eclipsian Rhapsody".  Sung to the tune of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (with great apologies offered to Queen!). The AUDIO PORTION of that performance may be heard HERE. This trio probably should not give up their day jobs, but the lyrics ring true to all umbraphiles, and despite the occasional (frequent?) missed notes, was appreciated by all within earshot. As we were located just north of the Madras Regional Airport, after C3 aircraft were departing loudly (though prior silenced with earlier closure leading to and during totality) and occasionally drowned out the performance of our COARCian singers. So, the lyrics are provided below to follow through those moments of audio interference.  Other umbraphiles may appreciate (off key or not...).  We did!

Jay Friedland, Karl Handelsman and Benno Kolland perform live:
(to the tune of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody)

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in the moons shadow
No escape from totality

Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
We’re super umbraphiles,
   searching for clarity
Because those clouds come,
   those clouds go
Some are high, some are low
Disappear the sun glow,
make it really dark for me, for me

Mama, don’t hurt your eyes
Put some glasses on your head
Or use welding glass instead
Mama, totality's begun
But now all my camera gear
   won’t shoot away

Mama, ooh
Didn’t mean to miss the sky
If there aren’t Baily's beads on the edge
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters
Too late, the dark has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Geeks are cheering all the time
Goodbye, everybody,
   i’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind
     and face the traffic

Mama, ooh,
I like the dark sky
I sometimes wish totality’d never end

I see a little silhouetto of the moon
Diamond ring, diamond ring,
     will you do the fandango
Shadow bands and
Very very frightening me
Galileo, Glenn Schneider
Galileo, Glenn Schneider
we only changed one name

I’m just eclipse chasing,
     clouds do not love me
He’s just eclipse chasing,
   he wants totality
He spends his life chasing totality

Easy come, easy go, will you make the clouds go
Bismillah! Oh, we will not let him go (make them go!)
Bismillah! we will not let him go (make them go!)
Bismillah! we will not let him go (make them go!)
Will not let him go (make them go!)
Never, never let you go
Never let him go, oh
Go, Go, Go, Go, Go, Go, Go
Oh, mama mia, mama mia, mama mia, let me go
The umbraphiles have a chase plane put aside for me,
        for me, for meeeeee...

So you think you can cloud me and block out the sky? (yeah!)
So you think you can get to the dark part of sky? (yeah!)
Oh night sky, can't do this to me night sky,
       just gotta get out, just gotta get right out of here

Nothing is in shadow
Nothing is in shadow
Nothing is in shadow to me
Disappear the sun glow make it really dark for me...



TSE 2017 resulted, before, during, and after, in a media blitz.  Note that I do not use the word 'hype', since the explosion in interest and exponential growth of coverage was more than justified by the event. There were, of course, uncounted stories and interviews on TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, internet blogs, etc. from every aspect pre and post you can imagine. Those ranged from very good and well researched and informative, to over-the-top sloppy and handing out mis-information whilly nilly.  Below are just a small sampling of some of the higher-fidelity ones that I was 1st hand aware of having spoken to those reporters/producers.  There are, in some, both subtle and glaring mistakes - some glaringly reminding us that you can't believe everything you read. Some here, however, did well to the point of even asking for closed-loop fact checking before publication (a rarity it seems these days).  It is of interest to me it seems that for TSE 2017 the press attention (obsession) seemed to be almost as much on eclipse chasers as with the eclipse itself -- a seemingly misplaced priority IMHO, but I guess its yet another "angle" for media content.  The above said, it was (subjectively) VERY nice to be at an eclipse observing site without (by design) intrusion by the media.  The number of inquiries/requests I had gotten in the days immediately prior to TSE2017 asking if I might provide "live commentary" was, well, laughable.  As if I could "time-share" watching the eclipse and in real-time reporting on it?  Maybe that's OK for others, for me my umbraphillic attention to the event itself is indivisible.  Here is a (very) short list of some of the media coverage which is just one tip of the mountains on the lunar profile (somehow an iceberg analogy did not seem to fit well here).  Some with videos linked within:


In October, 2015, Joe Rao and I (here we are 40 years ago... gulp!) wrote to Alaska Airlines proposing: "A Uniquely 'Serendipitous' Total Solar Eclipse 2016 Observation Flight Opportunity: Intercepting the Moon’s Shadow from AS Flight 870" {click link for original proposal}.  Explained therein was how a regularly scheduled Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Honolulu, with a modest change in schedule and targeted in-flight routing, could be optimized for viewing the March 9, 2016 TSE for umbraphiles filling the sun-side window seats. That, on a "shared use" flight with 'regular' passengers on the anti-side side.  Therein itself begins a very long and interesting story to recount at another time – save to say they (and we) did it!  Though I had done the technical planning for the retargeting and umbral intercept for that flight, working closely for the flight crew and airlines operations folks, I was not onboard being committed to ground-based observing of TSE 2016 in Indonesia.  However, Joe Rao was on-board and has on numerous occasions expounded on what a spectacular experience that was and how it went off better than clock-work.  See Alaska Airlines own post-facto blog about of that flight.

But, neither Joe nor I were expecting what happened next. 

With TSE 2016/AS # 870 in the history books, Alaska Airlines contacted us to say (paraphrase): "Hey, guys, with the great success we had last year, we would like to do another eclipse flight, for the upcoming "Great American Eclipse" (TSE 2017). Can you help us work that out?"  But, this was not to be a schedule-tweaked "shared use" flight as was 2016's, but a dedicated eclipse-observing mission from the git go, internally chartered by Alaska Airlines themselves. The flight would be designed from the ground up with the singular goal of giving a "best" airborne view of TSE 2017 to 'guests on board'.  It took only microseconds to say "yes". And so the detailed planning and logistics efforts over many months began. For me it was great to work, for a second year in a row, with a now eclipse-savvy airline and personell predicated on a very recent successful collaboration already under our belts to jump-start the planning and carry out the mission.  Again, however, I would be on the ground (in Madras, Oregon as told above). But,  Joe -- and the others on what would become Alaska Airlines Eclipse Flight #9671 -- would be the first folks in the world to be touched by the TSE 2017 umbra and experience totality from ~ 38,000 ft AMSL far out over the Pacific Ocean.   Why not over the contiguous 48 United States?

  Read all about that in this excellent report by Alaska Airlines.

NOW, with the TSE 2017/AS #9671 now also in the history book, PLEASE also:

  See this (1 minute!) video that (too quickly!) captures the excitement of the flight
    (Alaska Air promotional - but a GREAT compilation,
    at the end watch shadow on the cloud-tops heading out toward the Pacific Coast)

 See (and listen to) this (5 minute)
video by passenger Jasmine Shepheard

   who, with her brother, won two seats on the flight as an Alaska Airlines social media promotion!

My only 'regret'  is that I could not be in two places at once!  But, while I was on the ground in Madras, my parents were on the Alaska Airlines TSE 2017 eclipse flight for me in spirit. For both this was there 6th time in the lunar umbra, but first time for them seeing an eclipse from an airplane.  They seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience:

Ira & Elaine Schneider on AS 9671 - TSE 2017 eclipse flight

Here are some (just a few of many) media reports about  flight...

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