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Eclipse in Durango

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#1 const

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 01:11 AM

At first, I planned to view the eclipse in Russellville, AR. I booked a mediocre motel room there for the price of a good hotel smile.gif
Then I found a group of astronomers that offered a tour to Mexican rural high desert with the best possible chances of having appropriate weather for the occasion. So I switched my plans.
We gathered in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and moved to Mexiquillo national park in Durango. We stayed a few nights there in preparation for the main event. As the 4/8 day approached, we realized that the weather was going to deviate from statistical expectations badly…
Head of our group has a long record of chasing weather for eclipse viewing. He decided to travel a bit further, to La Luz, Durango.
Here we are, three hours before the eclipse start, two buses with some 50 weirdos entered the small village in the middle of nowhere and local police were wondering what was going on. Finally, they offered us to unpack in the school yard.

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#2 const

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 01:13 AM

Apparently, the Mexican government cares about tourists quite a bit, especially if they decide to go beyond regular tourist attractions. There were several well armed policemen around and in the school yard. We gave them eclipse glasses. Then somebody realized that rifle scope should work even better. Note that our combined Spanish proficiency was not enough to explain to the policeman what we are about to do with his rifle, so we just did it:

 

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Meanwhile, I set up my rig. I took as much as I could fit in a carry-on bag. The tracker’s counterweight invariably alerts airport security.

 

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#3 const

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 01:14 AM

Weather was not too good even in that location. Just before the eclipse started we saw clouds rolling in. Believe it or not, we decided to pack and go even further north-east away from the clouds! Minutes later, everybody is in the buses with half-assembled equipment in their hands. In conversation with our drivers and policemen we found out the closest viable place to go is too far… frown.gif We unpacked back in the same school yard and one hour before totality, well after the first contact, started watching, hoping that clouds won’t spoil too much. Fortunately, during totality the Sun was obscured only by the Moon!
Among other things, I noticed an orange sky glow at the horizon.

 

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Handheld shot taken for fun with 120mm lens with random settings

 

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Those four minutes flew way too fast.


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#4 const

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 01:15 AM

I took a series of bracketed shots hoping to make a meaningful HDR image. Unfortunately, longer shots, 1/15s and 1/2s, are mostly blurred. I am not even sure whom to blame, rather strong wind or infamous mirror slap. Short 1/125s shots are OK. I was able to pull only one acceptable HDR image.

 

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One of the short exposures better shows the inner corona and flares.

 

DSC_9083-Enhanced-NR.jpg


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#5 ub0423

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 02:13 AM

Glad to hear that you have good local support there. I was considering Durango and Torreon too but ended up in Greenville TX. It looks like the weather was a lot more stable down there. How was the hotel accommodation down there?



#6 R Botero

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 02:27 AM

Great story and results :waytogo:

Roberto



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