THE GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE
On August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States will see something special — a total eclipse of the Sun. Most of America will see some degree of partial eclipse but those fortunate enough to be in the 60 to 70-mile wide path of totality at the right time will see the Moon completely blocking the Sun and the sky darkening to a deep twilight. The Sun’s corona will glow in the darkened sky – something you would never be able to see under normal conditions. This is the first total eclipse visible from the lower 48 states of the U.S. in over 38 years – the last one was in 1979. For more information, click on the links below. There are loads of other internet sites dedicated to this eclipse but these are some of my favorites.
But if you haven’t already planned for this amazing natural phenomenon or your boss just won’t let you off work that day, don’t despair – North America will get to see another one in about 6-1/2 years. It will traverse southwest to northeast through the center of the USA. Set your calendars for April 8, 2024.
SO WHERE AM I GOING?
Stardate June 2017: My wife and I have been planning this trip for about two years. After much research, we decided early on that Madras, Oregon would provide the best chance for good weather. While that still remains to be seen, I now realize that many thousands of people may have come to that same conclusion so this may turn out to be one big “Woodstock”-like gathering. We are already committed so we will brave the traffic and whatever else nature throws our way (i.e., weather). If the weather and skies are clear, this eclipse animation (button below) shows what we can expect to see in Madras. This cool and useful calculator is provided by TimeandDate.Com . Add your city in the Search Bar to find out what you can see. The 2nd animation button is a Vimeo video courtesy of The Great American Eclipse website and Michael Zeiler. It illustrates the path of the eclipse shadow over Oregon.
While I really want to image this eclipse, I do not want to miss it visually. Therefore, I have decided to go “simple” in my photographic approach. This is my first attempt to image a total solar eclipse so in many ways, I will be winging it. I will be using a Canon 5D Mark IV camera with a 300mm L-series telephoto and a 1.4x teleconverter – an effective 420mm focal length. This will sit on an iOptron SkyGuider photo mount which will keep the sun within the field of view throughout the eclipse. A photo of my setup is provided below. I have been practicing and I generally like the image size. It should show enough detail while still displaying the extent of the corona during totality. That is, of course, if I can get everything to work – all at the right time. Imaging an eclipse is all about timing and luck. I plan to use a Canon intervalometer coupled with exposure bracketing to make this operation as “hands free” as possible. If I am successful, I will post my images on this page after I return from the adventure. Fingers crossed….