Greetings from Palmia Observatory
Well, we left on our road trip to view the October 14, 2023, annular solar eclipse from our selected location in St. George, Utah. Las Vegas is about halfway from OC, so we had to stop there for refreshments and get a view of the Sphere.
One of the newest attractions along the way is the Sphere in Las Vegas. This new theater, almost 600 feet across, can seat over 16,000 people for concerts and events. Here is the Sphere as seen from our hotel room.
|Viewing the Sphere from our Las Vegas hotel room (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
The Sphere is lit up 24/7 and its exterior display is always changing. Just watching it is kind of mesmerizing. We were glad that we planned to stop in Las Vegas and saw it. Sadly, we didn't get inside as the tickets were quite expensive and would have like to see U2 perform inside, we had to move on.
|Another exotic view of the Sphere from our Venetian Hotel room (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
One final photo of the Sphere showed a giant eyeball in very high resolution. What else can be hidden inside the Sphere?
|Wow, who knew the Sphere had a giant eyeball inside! (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
The drive from OC through Las Vegas and on to St. George was one of first road trips with our new Tesla. We had a little bit of range anxiety and worry about charging up and all of that, but it turned out we really had nothing to worry about. The Tesla supercharging network had many charging locations along the way and the automobile software made it easy to determine when and where was a convenient charging location. Here we one stop in Barston, CA, right next to a Chile's restaurant, which had the 25-minute stop pass by quite easily.
For those who want to put your engineering hat back on you can see for this charging location with 16 superchargers that it is powered by a 1000 kVA transformer connection to the utility. Some chargers were rated at 150 kW, so as long as not all of the charging locations were in use at the same time you could get your recharge very quickly.
|Checking out the supercharger transformer in Barstow, CA (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Well we finally made our way to St. George for our viewing location. If we had not been so lazy, we could have driven another two hours to Richfield, Utah, which was right on the eclipse centerline. Here is our DSLR camera setup, with cardboard sun shield, on our flimsy tripod.
|Resident Astronomer borrows Peggy's hat for some camera setup (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Here is a photo of the pre-eclipse sun, with at least two visible sunspots.
|Pre-eclipse photo of the sun; DSLR, 300mm, 1/1000 sec (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
We enjoyed watching the progression of the eclipse with our solar glasses and took a lot of photos along the way. Here is one of the photos taken near the maximum obscuration as seen from St. George. Other OCA members and of course anyone along the center line of the eclipse were able to get the circular ring of light where the moon blocked all but a tiny thin ring of light from the sun.
|Photo showing near maximum obscuration; DSLR, 300mm, 1/60 sec (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Well after a morning, busy standing in the sun, adjusting the camera pointing and watching the eclipse, from start to finish, it was time for a relaxing meal. One of our now favorite locations, is George's Corner, in downtown St. George. They serve a wide selection of food, and we especially enjoyed the "flirty lemon drop martinis."
|Resident Astronomer at a very favorite restaurant/bar in St. George (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
We also had some relaxing time to wonder what we could put in the Tesla frunk. There is no engine in there! For those of you with new a Tesla, maybe picking up blondes with champagne is one possible way to fill up the frunk. Hey, it worked for me!
|Having fun collecting Resident Astronomer Peggy in the frunk (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
We also had fun reminiscing with my sister along the way and she showed us this newspaper clipping illustrating how dad was instrumental in developing a new airport and starting a flight school in a small town. I didn't have much of a memory of this, but nice to know.
|Newspaper article about dad building airport (Source: Salt Lake Tribune, April 4, 1946)|
So, all in all we had a nice little road trip to see the Sphere in Las Vegas and travel on to St. George to get a better view of the annular solar eclipse than what we could have gotten by just staying in Orange County. Now back home at the observatory, while relaxing in a favorite recliner, I found this "cartoon" on Facebook that I am tempted to try at our next wine tasting event.
|Pull this prank at your next wine tasting event (Source: Facebook, unknown author)|
Until next time,