Amateur astronomers from around the country gathered at the observing facilities of the Minnesota Astronomical Society on a warm July evening. They discuss their observing plans for the night and wait in eager anticipation as the brighter planets start to appear in the fading twilight.
The moon rises over the cityscape of Minneapolis as its buildings start to turn on their own lighting.. This is the “supermoon”, a designation for when the moon is unusually close to Earth and hence, appears even larger than expected.
At 66 degrees north, Husavik Iceland is one degree away from the arctic circle. This places it directly beneath the usual position of the auroral oval, that zone of active energized atmosphere that creates the northern lights. The weather in Iceland is often overcast, but on this day the clouds cleared and the aurora were so brilliant they could be seen even over the lights of the city center and its active harbor.
At the end of totality, the moon starts to uncover the sun’s incredibly brilliant photosphere and creates a visual effect called the “diamond ring”. It lasts only a moment, but leaves an remarkably strong emotional impression that may be responsible for why those that witness it, seek it again, at the next total eclipse of the sun.
During the Great American Eclipse, the moon covered the brilliance of the sun’s photosphere, revealing the activity occurring at its surface. Deep red flares of energized gas erupt and eject for thousands of miles, then follow the lines of magnetic force back to the surface.
Only when the moon covers the sun in a total eclipse can its halo be seen. This is the corona, a mystery to astronomers, who only get a glimpse of it for a few minutes during totality. The dot to the lower left is the star Regulus, in the constellation Leo, suddenly visible while the sun is eclipsed.
At the top of the tallest volcanic mountains on Hawaii are the world’s premier telescopes. They are here because the air is calm and dry, high above the clouds and turbulence of lower elevations. The tradeoff is cold and snow, a small price to pay for the chance to explore the secrets of the universe.
The rosy glow of scattered twilight in the East is known as the “Belt of Venus”, which rides above the deep blue of Earth’s shadow on the sky. Here it is witnessed from the vantage of Hawaii’s tallest peak, Mauna Kea, as the world’s premier telescopes prepare for another evening of peering into the universe.
We are guests on the river boat Omar El Kayan, named after an Arab poet, visiting the areas of Egypt where Lake Nasser, created by the Aswan dam has submerged the ancient temples along the former banks of the Nile river. Abu Simbel was the most famous, but there were others, and we visited the sites where they had been carefully relocated.
At the end of a hot day navigating the lake, the boat moored. The wind and water were calm and the sky was dark on this section of the Nile. Out of curiosity I made a series of exposures hoping to capture the feeling of stars above the famous river and the desert around me. But calm water does not mean motionless water, and the camera recorded the small wave motions rocking the boat on which I was a passenger for the night.