I followed the Solar Eclipse with interest. You can find my article here. I loved the sheer guts and determination that one amateur astronomer was willing to put into sharing his passion with us mere mortals.

Scotty Degenhardt is my kind of people, he has passion for his subject and loves to share that passion with others. Alas due to a technical hitch the live broadcast was not recorded, which is a great shame, however he did manage to salvage some of the footage and has now put it on YouTube. The really fun part of the ‘highlights’ is that we get to see some of the back story. You really get a sense of his passion and dedication.

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The original plan was to broadcast the event from Area 51’s fabled Black Mailbox (now white). This picture was taken the night before the eclipse. Unfortunately there was no cell service available and so he needed to relocate.

The Solar Annular Eclipse was covered by just about every news organization on the planet, many broadcast footage from large observatories with complex and very high quality optics, Nasa even covered the event from space. Scotty Degenhardt on the other hand broadcast from the parking lot of a Sinclair gas station in Alamo, Nevada, a stones throw from Area 51. Braving the searing heat of the desert, and using equipment somewhat less sophisticated than a CNN mobile studio with satellite uplink, (actually an iPhone and the WiFi access from a nearby hotel) he managed to achieve what the ‘big boys’ could not. Sunday afternoons (with the exception of the Superbowl) are hardly classed by TV broadcasters as a high ratings time slot. Scotty Degenhardt proved them all wrong.

His ad-hoc lash up of equipment and unscripted dialog brought in over 100,000 live viewers! There are cable TV channels that would sell their first born for numbers like that!

Scotty did this with no sponsorship. But there is one company that does need to be recognized for their very kind assistance. Scotty had the telescopes and other gizmo’s needed but he had no real viable way of adding a high quality audio feed. Lectrosonics of Rio Rancho, New Mexico stepped up to the plate. They loaned the needed equipment. I do not think for one moment that they did this for any reason other than to help Scotty. It is great to see a company act in such a way, so I give a very big shout out to Lectrosonics! The audio quality was excellent. It is one thing to have audio equipment in a TV studio or a film set, but it is a whole different beast being in the parking lot of a gas station next to a highway in the middle of the desert!

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Accomplice in crime Mark Vincent is obviously very happy with finding this Garden of Eden in Alamo.

I enjoyed the highlights video a great deal. It turns out that Scotty had forgotten an important cable back at the hotel he was staying in, and without the WiFi  access offered by this new location the broadcast would not have happened. Scotty even decided to include a picture of the offending cable.

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Of course what Scotty likes to wear in the privacy of his hotel room is his own business, but they do look a little warm for the desert 🙂

You can watch the highlights for yourself:

Kudos to all involved! This to me is a fine example that the little guy counts! If you love something, just go out and do it! Make music, write a book, invent the next great thing, it doesn’t matter what your area of interest is, take it and run with it. You might be surprised where it takes you.

Simon Barrett

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