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To view the astrophotography image of your choice, please click on one of the text links below. Text links on this web site are designated by blue text which changes to orange as you pass over it with your mouse. Text links are not underlined. To return to another gallery click on the large navigation text below or use the links contained in the filmstrip image map above. All navigation is also available at the bottom of each page.


"Saturn" and "Jupiter" -- not for sale
"Horsehead Nebula -- B33" -- not for sale
"Lunar Eclipse 2000 -- #27"
"Darkness in the Caribbean -- Baily's Beads"
"Coronal Experience"
"Prominence Experience"
"Solar Composite" -- not for sale
"Moon Over Yellowstone Lake"
"The Color of Night / Hale-Bopp 9"
"Hyakutake IV / Blaze"
"Hyakutake III"
"Canyon Moon"
"Chena Aurora 7"
"Orion / Leonid Bolide Detail"

Below are direct links to the Astrophotography narratives:

Astrophotography narrative -- " A Family Reunion"

Astrophotography narrative -- "Rambling Through the Night Sky"

See more astrophotography at
















"A Family Reunion"

As a boy I was greatly affected by my Grandfather. He seemed an expert on all things (I suppose most Grandfathers do) and served as a philosophical advisor and friend to my sisters and I. As a twelve year old, he presented me with what he described as the most significant book ever written; Rachael Carson's A Silent Spring. It was his belief that this book depicted a dark and very real future -- one that is based on the premise that the Earth itself will die in man's toxic waste -- in its example, DDT. The book was written in 1962 and has since become a sort of manifesto for the environmental movement. Grandpa was a bit of a visionary.

I felt overwhelmingly honored to be alive, and to have beheld this event. I had seen (with my sons) what my Grandfather had observed three-quarters of a century before (with his daughter, my Mother). It was truly nature's finest moment, and a special sort of family reunion for us.
Also that year a partial Solar Eclipse occurred. As an amateur astronomer, I dutifully observed it with smoked glass (don't try it!) and discussed the event with my Grandfather. He stated brusquely and with great resolve that if I ever had the opportunity to observe a Total Solar Eclipse that I must do so. He said it would change my life! He had observed just such an event with my Mom when she was a child.

So . . . here we were -- my boys and I -- in 1991, on a beautiful sandy beach at the tip of Baja California, living Grandpa's wish. After a complex site selection process (I "interviewed" an aging expatriate surfer) we located an appropriate stretch of sand (the only one with trees!) and camped the night before, magically "escaping" the Army, who had been located just down the waterfront from us. They were here to guard the Mexican President who had flown in for the event. (I knew I felt a "presence.") My sons and I had awakened to the songs of unknown tropical birds and as as the sun met the horizon to start the (rather significant) day we walked the beach, watched scurrying crabs, visually scoured the tidal pools for life and introduced ourselves to the local sea Iguana. As the morning progressed grant-funded University of Colorado Professor Dr. Wu and his entourage of snail-watchers appeared, along with two local families and a pair of lovers. This was the "crowd" we encountered on three-quarters of a mile of pristine tropical beach.

What clouds had developed quickly moved off, the time moved forward, and we realized we were to witness Nature's Greatest Spectacle under crystal-clear skies. As the partial stages continued Dr. Wu informed us as to the snail's movements (I couldn't ascertain any movement whatsoever!) and the families lined up to take a safe peek through the filtered telescope.

Soon, just before totality, as a kind of gentle tension encompassed us, the strange Shadow Bands appeared; (not unlike reflections of filtered light through water) their images projected on the sandy landscape. Then suddenly a flash, and there it was -- the "Black Sun" -- covered by the Moon, with magnificent Prominences, (easily seen with the naked eye) and the beautifully complex Corona, emanating from the blackness of our giver of life. Dr. Wu forgot about the snails. I shot photos and had the boys look through the telescope. A local scuba diver surfaced to the darkness and howled in delight. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever witnessed. Then, all too soon, another flash and totality was over. We hurried to replace the filters. Seth looked at me and said; "I want it to happen again, right now!" We all felt that, I'm sure. I felt overwhelmingly honored to be alive, and to have beheld this event. I had seen (with my sons) what my Grandfather had observed three-quarters of a century before (with his daughter, my Mother). It was truly nature's finest moment, and a special sort of family reunion for us.

I walked down to the Sea of Cortez, looked out into the azure coral-laden waters of Bahia Chileno, and wept. Grandpa was right!


Copyright Willis Greiner, 1991. All rights reserved.

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