Eyes on the Skies

The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 was the first to occur solely in the United States since the country was founded. It captivated the attention of tens of millions of Americans and is believed to be one of the most photographed, most shared and most tweeted event thus far in human history.

Red Hawk Fire & Security Sales Rep. from Beltsville, MD, Michael Timpano is among the many eclipse enthusiasts who traveled to points along the 3,000-mile-long, 70- mile wide swath or “path of totality” to witness the spectacle.

With 30 plus years’ experience in the fire, life safety and security industry and as a life-long astronomy buff, Michael has applied his love of technology to help him see the night skies through sophisticated cameras he’s attached to his powerful telescopes.

Michael observed the eclipse from an area just south of Knoxville, TN within the “path” where the eclipse lasted a brief 2 minutes thirty-eight seconds.  The “path of totality” lies directly in the shadow of the moon as it passed between Earth and the sun. Beneath the moon’s shadow (under cloudless skies) star gazers were able to see the sky darken, feel temperatures drop and observe the sun’s atmosphere or corona—a halo of immensely hot gas invisible under normal circumstances. The eclipse crossed the entire United States in about 90 minutes, faster than the speediest jetliner.

Because the eclipse moved across thousands of miles of mostly inhabited landscapes, rather than remote wilderness or open seas, it was within sight of scientists for the duration of totality. Thus, researchers were able to be in position at various locations along the path, filmed the event and can piece together their clips to create an unprecedented 90-minute long video of the sun’s corona in action.