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Solar Eclipse

Updated: May 10, 2018

From NASA: On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.

We went down to Old Pungo Ferry Road in Virginia Beach. We knew that there we would have a clear view of the sky with no trees or buildings blocking the sun.  We were fortunate to have good weather (no clouds) for the eclipse. Our area was in the band with about 85% totality, so we knew that we wouldn't see darkness but that we would a definite obscuring of the sun through our eclipse glasses. 

I set up my binoculars on a tripod to project the eclipse image onto a white board. I remember my dad doing this when there was an eclipse when we were kids. I had no idea back then how he did that! But I found instructions on the internet how to do it. It worked great. It works the same as a pinhole camera but magnifies and brightens the image. As with any camera obscura (of which this is a type), the images from the binoculars will be inverted. The white and gray images are of the projection. If you look closely, you can see sunspots in some of the pictures (particularly the second and third ones).

I also put the eclipse glasses over my camera lens to try to get some direct pictures. Three of them turned out good. Those are the black and orange pictures. It was difficult to get the camera to focus through the film on the glasses.

I set up my GoPro camera on a timelapse. I had no idea how that was going to turn out. With us not seeing totality, it really just looked like the sun shining. Lesson learned. I probably could have adjusted the exposure settings and been able to see something. But we still got regular pictures with the cameras, so it turned out great.

When I really examined all the pictures, also seems like in the wide shots taken later in the eclipse that the area (grass and sidewalk) is a bit darker than those taken at the beginning of the eclipse. It could be just a difference in the exposure level of the pictures. Not really sure.

It was hot out (90+) but what a great spectacle to witness. It was also so cool to come home and see all the people across the country who observed the eclipse in their own way. Science rocks!!!

Next time, I am planning to travel to the path of totality. Can't wait!! April 8, 2024!!! (see map below)


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