The Great North American Eclipse Thread - For Science!

#1

Hey Eyewirers!

We obviously have a lot of players in North America, and the event of a lifetime is coming up on Monday, August 21st: the Great North American Eclipse! This will include the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States since 1979. It’s going to be a pretty awesome event in general: the eclipse will sweep all the way from the Pacific Northwest to the Carolinas, traversing the entire continent. Although solar eclipses take place about every 18 months, it can be decades or centuries for an eclipse to happen in exactly the same city or region.

Whether you live in the path of totality, you’re traveling there, or you’re going to be in an area with partial coverage, feel free to share your photos and experiences in this thread! Heck, if you don’t get to take your own photos, but you find some other cool ones, you can also link to them with proper attribution here. (Please don’t directly upload someone else’s images without permission.) And do note that some places outside the US, including as far as Iceland, Ireland, and the northern UK, will have partial eclipse visibility too! As for myself, I’m going to be in South Carolina, squarely within the totality zone, and I hope to get some great photos because astronomy is amazing.

Obligatory safety warning: Except for the moment of totality (100% coverage of the sun by the moon), never ever ever look at the sun directly unless you are wearing viewing glasses certified to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard (there’s a good list of brands here to make sure you’ve gotten something real). If you look at the sun through a camera, only look through a digital display, do not use the viewfinder lens! Staring directly at the sun can and will cause blindness or other severe vision damage. The moment of totality is only safe because the sun’s corona is too weak.

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#2

Less obligatory photo tips: I am not an expert in solar photography, but here are the suggestions I’ve been taking into account for my own eclipse-chasing purposes.

  1. For photographing a partial eclipse on a DSLR, you will need to buy or make a solar filter for your camera lens. This won’t protect your eyes, but it will reduce the glare so that you can actually capture images of the sun’s disc and the moon’s shadow rather than just a big white light. If you can’t get a solar filter in time, you can DIY one out of aluminized mylar film stretched over and duct taped to a circular cardboard frame that you’ve fitted to your lens’ circumference.

  2. Once you have this filter in place, it sounds like optimal settings to use for the partial eclipse are 800+ ISO, f4 focal ratio, and a 1/500-1/1000 shutter speed. Obviously it helps to have a telephoto lens of sufficient size for making the sun look as big as you want in the frame, and it’s good to use a tripod for stability.

  3. If you are going to be in the totality zone, take the solar filter off, since you don’t need it, then change to 100 ISO, f8 focal ratio, and then for each shot gradually drop the shutter speed from 1/2000 all the way to 2 so that you capture all the different corona wavelengths.

  4. It’s probably not worth using your phone camera for capturing the sun/sky in detail, but you can consider shooting video on it for an overall view of the sky and surroundings. If anyone gets video on any device, I’d love to see it!

  5. Especially if this is your total solar eclipse experience, it’s also advisable not to get too wrapped up taking photos in the first place! Totality will only last a couple minutes, and the human eye can appreciate it better than any camera, so enjoy that while it lasts, as I plan to.

And general note… In the totality zone, take note that at totality things will become very different than any partial eclipse you have experienced before! When the sun’s disc is 100% obscured and the corona becomes visible, you should actually be able to view other things like stars and planets in the sky, as well as a 360-degree sunset effect all around the horizon. The light quality itself will be unique: like twilight, but still with sharp, crisp shadows. Birds may fall silent, other animals will act like it’s bedtime, and nocturnal or crepuscular critters may start to make their presence known. Without the sun’s radiation hitting that part of the earth, too, you may experience a very tangible temperature drop.

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#3

Hi!
I am going to be traveling to the totality zone, so I will be sure to get some good pictures! Thanks for the tips by the way

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#4

I got a 30 pack of certified solar viewer cards to share with my coworkers! We are all interested to see what the animals do. We will have about 90% of the eclipse :slight_smile:

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#5

Hooray @Peridot and @Atani! Can’t wait for your reports.

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#6

I’m back!
I have to say, it was pretty awesome. I found it a bit underwhelming until the totality happened, but when it did, several things occurred.

  1. Everything got dark (obviously)
  2. The temperature dropped
  3. There was a pink sunset all around
  4. The sun was a majestic glowing black circle
    And, last but definitely least,
  5. The mosquitoes came out

It only lasted a minute or so, but I still thought it was worth the 35 hours that the entire trip took.

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#7

pics anyone!?

#8

Here’s my (husband’s) picture! I experienced much of what Peridot described. The sky was a beautiful shade of sapphire blue, much like nautical twilight, and I could see the planet Venus just as you would at that time of day. In my case about 30 minutes before totality I noticed that the quality of the light was changing; it was like someone had put a dimming photo filter over the whole world. But shadows did not disappear, they actually grew crisper as the source of light (that is, the sun) got finer. In terms of temperature I felt easily a 10-20 degree Fahrenheit difference.

And yeah, wow. The sun and moon together. This photo is stunning, I’ll admit, but the technical depiction of the eclipse does nothing to place the look of a giant black hole in the sky surrounded by a ring of cold white fire. “Fantastically apocalyptic” is the term I’m starting to use. I grew very emotional, and I was positioned near a stadium full of people who were screaming and cheering and crying.

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#9

Yeah, that seems like a really good way of describing it!

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#10

Omg that pic is epic!!! And that term is great lol

#11

Thanks Nik!

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#12

Late to the party here, but took this pic of the shadow of a tree at the height of the eclipse where i was.

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#13

Ooh very snazzy, that’s much clearer than the crescent shadow photo I got.

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