Total Solar Eclipse, February 1979
1979 Total Solar Eclipse
home-made telescope I took this photo using the telescope shown at right. The telescope is a homemade 4.25" reflector with 59" focal length. The eyepiece was removed and a 35mm SLR camera body (without lens) was substituted at the prime focus. This effectively turned the telescope into a 1500mm telephoto lens. The above photo was a 1/4-second exposure on Feb 26, 1979, at 1629 UT (9:29 am MST). Film speed was ASA 64. During totality no filters were needed.
1979 eclipse path This was the last total eclipse of the century that would be visible from the continental United States. (Funny how the end of the century seemed so far away in 1979.) The eclipse track passed through Washington, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. Being the dead of winter and weather unpredictable, we drove from California due north to Washington, then eastward along the eclipse track to find suitable weather. We finally settled for Grassrange, Montana, which is not much more than a wide spot in the road near the geographic center of Montana. This is prairie land, with few trees to get in the way and no mountains to generate clouds. Heading south on a spur road a couple miles put us smack in the middle of the oncoming eclipse.