Finally!  An eclipse we could drive to, for the first time since the previous member of this family of eclipses 10 May 1994!  Saros 128, the member of this family, returns to the Earth every 18 years 10.3 days.  Last time around, it was a morning eclipse.  This time, it was a late afternoon eclipse, further north.

We spent 2 days at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and then drove north to Page on eclipse day.  The distance is about 230 km (140 miles).  We found a place at the back of a motel which had a perfect view of the western horizon, including the Kaibab Plateau, the Vermillion Cliffs, and Lake Powell.  This time, I set up the C* telescope I was able to bring, attached the solar filter, and used that for views.  The sunspots were striking!

I then set up a video camera at about 25 x and a filter, so it would run during annularity with minimal effort on my part to adjust it.  I had a camera with 35x optical, and I put a solar filter over the lens and took pictures periodically.  Annular solar eclipses do darken the sky a little, there is an “eclipse wind,” and the temperature cooled 5.8 C, or about 10.5 F.  The sun was starting to set, but obviously the eclipse had an effect on the temperature, since 5 p.m to 6:30 p.m.temperature drops are usually less than half that.

We had a nice group with us, with two men from the UK next to us, many German tourists, so I could practice my German, a motel, where they did not mind our using their cold water and toilet facilities, and a place to park right next to our gear!  My wife helped rescue two Swiss women who were on the balcony of their room and were locked out.  For that, she got some Swiss chocolate!!

We left page at 7:30 p.m.,, drove past the unbelievable crowd of cars at the site overlooking Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River, and returned to the South Rim at 2200!  Video of the eclipse is here.  All pictures of the eclipse and the Grand Canyon are here.


Just after “First Contact”




  1. zozo Says:

    Thanks a lot Mike it`s magnificent! I enjoyed it a lot…

  2. Patrycja Chyla-Malima Says:

    Dear Michael,

    I am a publisher working at Namibia Publishing House (Pty) Ltd.
    We publish textbooks for government schools from pre-primary to high school level.

    Our aim is to provide quality affordable educational materials for underprivileged kids, mainly in rural areas of Namibia.
    We strive to use the most up-to-date information and attractive relevant illustrations and photographs in all our publications.

    At the moment, I am working on Geography Grade 8 Learner’s Book.
    I came across your website:
    while searching for images of an annular eclipse to use in the book.

    I would like to use one of your images of an annular eclipse over the Grand Canyon on 20 May 2012 as an example of what such an eclipse looks like from the face of the earth. It is a commercial print.
    I kindly ask for your permission to use the image in question inside the text of this publication.
    We oblige ourselves to attribute the photograph in the Acknowledgement section of the book as well as in its caption direclty under the image according to your specifications (e.g. Michael Spinner Smith (p 172).
    Please let me know if this is acceptable to you.

    Thank you in advance for positive consideration of my request.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Warm regards,

    Patrycja Chyla-Malima

    Namibia Publishing House
    19 Faraday Street
    P.O. Box 22830
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Tel: +264 61 232165
    Fax: +264 61 233538

    • Mike Says:

      Thank you for writing. Please give credit to Jay Anderson, meteorologist at Environment Canada (retired), from whose Website the map was taken. Mr. Anderson gives free use of his maps, only requesting acknowledgment. That is all you need to do.

      • Patrycja Chyla-Malima Says:

        Dear Mike,
        I was referring to the 8th image of the eclipse in the blog post above, showing Mid-annularity, not the map. Is this image of the eclipse not yours? From the blog it sounds like you might have taken it. Please confirm that we have permission to use it.
        Thank you so much.
        Warm regards,

  3. Mike Says:

    Oh, if not the map, then the pictures were all taken by me. You do have permission to use any.

    • Patrycja Chyla-Malima Says:

      Thank you so much Mike, I will make sure we will give credit to Mike Smith/ Boreal B[l]og.

  4. Mike Says:

    I hope it is helpful.

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