Well, it’s all done and dusted (literally), the 2023 eclipse was a pearler with two spectacular diamonds rings and 62 seconds of totality.
The day started early, 5am, for the drive from our base in Coral Bay to Exmouth at the Kailis Observing Site. A lot of people were pouring into the site very early to setup gear and prepare for the start of the partial phases. Though I was surprised that there was still a lot of space at the site, I had expected it to be more packed. It was great to see and catch up with a couple of friends, Kate and Tiffany, who I worked with in the past at Sydney Observatory.
There was a strong easterly breeze blowing which may have been an issue but by the start of the eclipse at 10:03am (local time from my image data) the breeze had dropped apart from a few gusts and about half way to totality the breeze had completely vanished. About half way through the partial phase, the light had noticeably dropped and the temperature had dropped.
As totality approached the beautiful golden hue that I’ve only ever seen during eclipse bathed all observers and Venus became visible in the darkening sky.
The first diamond ring was short and heralded the start of totality. Jupiter was visible to the west (left) of the eclipsed Sun. Visually I saw mostly the inner corona and although there were prominences, I didn’t see them visually either, though I was only taking quick glances up as this was a short eclipse and right on totality a technical glitch meant I had to quickly drop my lens from 400mm to 100mm in order to obtain some images. The partial phases on the way out were observed by some but not all as many headed off after totality.
I overcame the technical glitch and was able to return to 400mm for the partial phases which was good. Using a mirrorless camera (R6 Mark II) with an adaptor for my 100-400mm lens worked though I don’t think the images are as sharp as using the 6D with the same lens so for future eclipses I’ll be going back to that setup and using the mirrorless camera for high-res widefield imaging. Although I obtained some good images of the inner corona and second diamond ring, the resolution on the prominences is not what I was hoping for due to the drop from 400mm to 100mm but they are still ok images and a great reminder of my 10th totality!