How about from the telescope level of a 3.5 meter telescope. Yeah, it works in my book.
Half of my wife's job is as the senior observing specialist of said telescope at Apache Point Observatory. The other half is bouncing a 1.21 jigowatt laser off of five retroreflectors on the moon
, three left behind by Apollo astronauts and two attached to Russian robotic probes.
Right now it's below 30f with the wind gusting at 30 MPH, and the eclipse is in totality. I've seen eclipses before, but this is much cooler. By being at an observatory, a real one that does science, you're guaranteed to be away from most light pollution, so the viewing quality is much higher. And tonight's a full moon with the eclipse, and the change in the visible star field as the eclipse has progressed and the reflected light level has dropped has been really interesting. All of the high magnitude
stars begin to pop out almost like it were a new moon.
I'm working with two other spotters, we watch for aircraft that might fly in to the beam while it's lasing. The beam won't damage the aircraft or the pilot's eyes, but it might cause a loss of night vision. Since we have three, we're up for 40 minutes then we rotate one person and they're down for 20 minutes. It's still pretty brutal cold.
Aside from seeing all the stars come out for totality, the thing that I'm finding most interesting is that as the eclipse progressed towards totality, the shadow moved from about 7:00 to 1:00 relative motion across the moon, and as it comes out of totality, it's moving from about 11:00 to 5:00. I know it's because of the motions of the earth and moon, the moon was rising early on and is now setting, etc., but it's still cool.
This eclipse is rather special in that it's happening on the solstice, which coincides every 400 years or so. And because it's an eclipse, it also is a unique photographic opportunity, which I'll talk about in another post as it's 4am, the eclipse is over, and I'M GOING TO GO HOME SOON! Spotting for six hours is rough!