Solar eclipse time!
Sun 20 May 2012 - Sun 20 May 2012
I have to get this off my damn chest.
What. Is. Up. With. Time. Zones.
Time zones: they're not rocket science, right? You'd think not. And yet, they have several times stumped two otherwise reasonably intelligent people.
Here is what I knew about US time zones before going on this trip: there are four of them, Eastern (EST), Central (CST), Mountain (MST), and Pacific (PST), and they are each an hour apart. I always figured time zones went by state. I also figured all the states on our Roadtrop Map participated in daylight savings, so the time zones we'd deal with would be EDT, CDT, MDT and PDT.
The first WTF moment involving time was on our drive from Knoxville to Nashville, both in Tennessee. When I hopped into the driver's seat in the morning and loaded up the GPS, I thought it was odd that the drive was shorter than it appeared to be in my notes. A couple of hours into it, I suddenly realized that to complete the journey by the time of arrival, I would have to drive at 140mph. Wait ... Nashville is in a different timezone to Knoxville? Yes, apparently so, even though a world clock website that Matt looked at suggested otherwise. Western Tennessee is on CDT, while the east of the state is on EDT. I guess the divide is between counties or something (not enough precious bandwidth for me to Google the answer).
The second WTF moment was yesterday, the day of the solar eclipse. At the City of Rocks visitor center in the morning, we picked up an information sheet that said the eclipse would start at 6:30PM, with annularity around 7:37PM. I had in my notes that the eclipse would take place an hour earlier, so we realized that Arizona was on PDT, not MDT. OK, that's an easy adjustment.
Then, as we were driving to Canyon de Chelly National Monument, where we wanted to view the eclipse, I noticed that, according to the GPS, we were short on time. We bypassed Petrified Forest and kind of rushed the end of the Coronado Trail to make sure we were in place to view the eclipse on time. However, at about 4:00PM PDT, I realized that something was off in the opposite temporal direction. I was driving a 60-mile-long stretch of highway at about 80mph (shh), but the GPS was telling me I needed two hours to reach the end.
Oh, good lord. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is on a Navajo nation reservation, which does not observe daylight savings. So my notes were in PDT, but our eclipse observation site, they were marking PST, which is actually the same as MDT, so in practice, the info sheet from City of Rocks was correct after all.
Shoot me in the face.
Anyhow, it all worked out for the best, because we arrived at Canyon de Chelly early, and could get set up in time to witness the start of the eclipse. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the T-adapter for my telescope working with Matt's camera (would love to Google a solution when I reach civilization i.e. decent wifi), but I got some pretty great shots by screwing basically every filter I own onto my PowerShot, and sandwiching a grade 5 welding goggle lens between my ND4 and UV filter. Then I shot at ISO 80, shutter speed 1/4000, and with the manual focus at infinity (I think the camera was having a helluva time autofocusing through all those filters). Here are some pix of the set-up:
And here's the eclipse itself: