2024 Total Solar Eclipse

The (clickable) panel below shows the details of the eclipse as expected here in our RV campground located near Waco, TX. I cropped the image from a screenshot taken from the Time and Date website.

The right side of the panel shows our approximate location in the RV park (green area), The left side of the panel shows times for events associated with this eclipse. It also shows the expected weather of overcast with scattered thundershowers. That’s sub-optimal for eclipse viewing, of course, but we’re optimistic that we will see some of the spectacle, regardless.

At a minimum, the daylight will diminish to darkness if overcast, and I may be able to take a video the lunar shadow as it approaches our site at 1500 miles per hour. Likewise, four minutes later, I may be able to take a video of the shadow’s departure.

We just learned that there is a tornado watch for this area after the eclipse. We probably could use some prayerful help with that. Stay tuned.

2024 FEB 29 – Happy Leap Day

We’ve never done a celebration of Leap Day on this blog, mainly because we’ve never thought about it much. For those who were born on a February 29th, they must like it when their birthday can be celebrated every four years on the actual date of their birth.

Out of curiosity, I DuckDucked (I don’t G-word search) February 29th birthdays and found out about a lot of famous people (most of whom I did not recognize as famous) who were born on 29 FEB. I did see names I knew, some were popular performers or actors, some were in religion or politics and there were a couple of serial killers as well. You can research those if you’re interested.

The Gregorian Calendar, which is currently in use, has some exceptions for the every four year rule. Years evenly divided by 100 are skipped as leap years unless the year is also divisible by 400. The year 2000, since it was evenly divided by 400 was a leap year. I guess that means that unless I live to see the year 2100, that I will in my lifetime have experienced no skipped leap years like the second generation before me did (1900 was NOT a leap year).

The calendar and our clocks, from time to time, have to be adjusted for very minor variations in the Earth’s rotation. This mechanism is called a Leap Second where a second is added to universal time to allow Earth to catch up with UTC. There is an ongoing argument in the scientific community as to whether leap seconds should be abolished. I have no comment about that.

In our household, we will celebrate 02/29/24 by going about our regular activities on Thursday, which consists of procuring the groceries and provisions for the coming weekend and week.

We wish you a very Happy Leap Day!

Imbolc – 2024

Imbolc Cross-Quarter Day

Celtic Feast today: Irish Beef Stew with Soda Bread. The stew had low-carb vegetables (i.e. Turnips, not Potatoes, Butternut Squash, not yams, etc.). The Soda Bread was made with Keto-friendly ingredients. The feast was delicious and served with an Irish Coffee on a cool, windy day. Click on the image to open in the image viewer.

About Imbolc:

Celts celebrated Imbolc as the beginning of Spring. Imbolc corresponds more or less to Groundhog Day in the USA, February 2, when tradition has it that if a sleepy groundhog creeping out of its burrow at dawn sees its shadow, there are 6 more weeks of winter. (If not, we surmise, only 42 days remain.) Christians celebrate this holiday as St. Brigid’s Day.

Spam Filter

When we upgraded this blog to later versions of WordPress a couple of years back, we also upgraded our Spam Filter to Askimet. The package does a pretty good job of filtering spam while allowing normal comments. Thus far, (since the upgrade) Askimet has stopped over nineteen thousand spams. I note that most of the spam seems to be trying to sell pharmaceuticals. There are also some Russian-language spams and a few others promoting p0rn and such. Fortunately, none of that seems to get through.

Day of Rest and Dining

We’re still in the RV Park here in Canyon, TX doing as we said yesterday, that is relaxing and dining. We got up leisurely at around 9:30 AM local time (7:30 AZ time) and spent the day doing the routine with the dogs and getting in a shower for both of us.

The only real work effort was to get out the Grill and Propane bottle and set it up. The other work was done by Damsel to get the chicken ready to grill and prepare the salad.

Image: BBQ Chicken Roasting in the Grill Box

Image: Chicken and Dinner Salad, Served

After dinner, we took the dogs for a walk; when they had done their business, they went back in the motorhome and we continued our walk around the park. This evening, thanks to the on-board satellite TV system, we’re watching some baseball games; thanks to my new smartphone, we’re getting a 5G connection on our computers through the shared Wi-Fi feature. Life and retirement is good.

Annular Solar Eclipse Day

Above, first order of camping business is to show the RV parked at the American RV Park taken after the day’s festivities. This is the third time we’ve camped at this particular park – once in 2017 and again in 2019.

Now, in 2023, we’re back again to witness one of God’s spectacles, to wit, the great annular solar eclipse of 2023. Without going into a lot of detail, this is an image of the annularity taken by Damsel this morning at 10:37 local time.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Tomorrow, we will be headed to the Texas Panhandle.

Amateur Radio Field Day

I took a break from our usual Saturday activities at home to visit with the Hassayampa Amateur Radio Klub at their Field Day site in the Garcia Schoolhouse near Old Downtown Wickenburg.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day is an annual event in which amateur radio clubs and individual amateurs can participate to demonstrate their emergency communications capabilities.

I took my camera and got a few shots of the operation; there were three stations working in the schoolhouse. The first station seen in the (clickable) image below is the CW station, or communications via Morse Code. I am surprised that having been off the air for a while that I could still copy the Morse callsigns and text in my head as I listened.

The next station seen below is a digital modes station; there are several digital modes available and they all work to transmit text or possibly images via a computer interface.

The third and final station is a voice mode station that probably is using a popular voice mode called Single Sideband (SSB).

All of the stations had a computer on the side to perform the logging necessary for the contacts made. Logs are submitted to the ARRL which issues awards to contest winners in the various categories.

I have to admit that I thought about getting back on the air, but some matters related to home repair will have to take precedence. More on that situation at another time.

Solar Astrophotography

In anticipation of the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14, 2023, I got out the Canon SL1 camera and associated accessories to photograph the solar disk. I used the Canon EF 100-400mm lens along with a Thousand Oaks Optical threaded SolarLite® filter to get the (clickable) image above. I had to experiment with the camera settings to get the image and further had to adjust it using a photo processing app.

The setup resolved the solar disk and a couple or three sunspots currently visible; the two larger sunspots visible are 3297 and below that 3294. Those numbers are according to

As I mentioned above, I had to experiment with the camera settings a bit. Using the camera’s Programmed (P) setting, the images were overexposed. I switched to the shutter speed priority setting and tried several exposure times from 1/1000 second, 1/2000 second, and 1/4000 second. The latter, which is the fastest shutter speed on the camera, captured enough of the details needed to produce the image seen above and will certainly be good enough for the annular eclipse. For the total eclipse in April of 2024, it will be necessary to remove the attenuating filter during totality in order to capture the details of the solar limb and the spectacular appearance of the solar corona.