Updated January 2018. I created these images during the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. I was located just north of the small town of Guernsey, WY. What a gem of a location! Thanks to Rebecca and Levi for opening up their land to me and others for this special occasion! I was located very near the centerline of totality and experienced 2 minutes 27.6 seconds under the lunar umbra. It changed me! The pictures don't do justice to the experience, but I hope you enjoy them anyway!
I practiced extensively before the big eclipse day and my favorite subject was the moon. As I thought about the dance between the moon and the sun during a solar eclipse, I realized that the moon is the antagonist in a big theatrical play performed by our solar system.
The sun in this image is about 20% eclipsed by the moon. The anxious anticipation of totality is palpable. This image was captured through a 100 mm f/7.4 refractor telescope with a solar filter. Several sunspots are present on the surface of the sun. The spots are aligned roughly along the equator of the sun, which is tilted down on the left side by about 10 degrees.
Shine on you Crazy Diamond, Part 1
Several seconds before totality, the last remnants of the Sun's photosphere (Google it) combine with the first appearance of the corona to create the popular diamond ring effect. My 70 - 200 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter provided nice optics for the sunstar effect. Beautiful!!
Just a second or three before totality, Baily's Beads appears at the edge of the lunar silhouette. This phenomenon is due to sunlight shining through mountains, valleys, and craters on the edge of the lunar disk. The red color is ionized hydrogen in the layer of the sun known as the chromosphere.
This close up shot of Baily's Beads emphasizes the details of the last remnants of sunlight prior to totality!
So, So Close
Less than a second before totality the very last trace of the sun is swallowed by the moon. The corona is in full glory! This is a composite of 10 different exposures taken with a 100 mm f/7.4 refractor telescope. The different exposures were required to capture the dynamic range of the corona.
This is a composite of 14 different exposures taken with a 100 mm f/7.4 refractor telescope. The different exposures were required to capture the dynamic range of the corona. Some of the very fine details of the corona are visible in this image. The structure is defined by the strong magnetic fields that surround the sun. These details are not visible with the naked eye.
Six Solar Diameters
The corona out to more than six solar diameters is visible in this wide field view of totality. This is a composite of 12 different exposures taken at 280 mm. The different exposures were required to capture the dynamic range of the corona. The star Regulus is visible to the left of the sun/moon.
The surface of the new moon, which looks like a full moon in this image, is faintly visible during totality. This is a four second exposure designed to over-expose the corona and capture the details of the lunar surface.
One of the outermost layers of our star contains ionized hydrogen gas that emits red light. It is called the chromosphere because it so colorful. It is one of the most beautiful features of totality in my opinion!
This is a closeup of the chromosphere. Jets of gas are exploding from the surface of the sun. On the scale of this image, the earth would be about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Yes, the sun is big on a scale we don't usually appreciate!
Shine on you Crazy Diamond, Part 2
Several seconds after totality, the ultimate diamond ring effect blazes forth in this image from by 70 - 200 with a 1.4x teleconverter. It is easy to see why images like this appear on the cover of books written about totality!
Until We Meet Again
The dance between the moon and the sun is nearing its end. This image was captured through a 100 mm f/7.4 refractor with a solar filter. Several sunspots are present on the surface of the sun. The spots are aligned roughly along the equator of the sun, which is tilted down on the left side by about 10 degrees.2
Totality of Totality
This composite is the totality of totality. All images were captured through a 100 mm f/7.4 refractor telescope. The partial phases were captured with a solar filter, while those for totality and the diamond ring were captured without a filter. The composite was assembled in Photoshop.
Beginning to End
Southeastern Wyoming is filled with hay bales. What better foreground for a sequence of partial eclipse phases and totality? Individual images for the partial phases were captured about 6 minutes apart using a solar filter. The image for the foreground and totality was captured without a filter. The composite was assembled in Photoshop.
Waiting for 2024
The next total eclipse of the sun in the United States occurs in 2024. The sun will patiently bide its time until then, but there is no need for us to wait that long. A total eclipse will visit Chile and Argentina in 2019. Plan now!
Here Comes the Moon
This image is one still frame from a time lapse series that I made to capture the encroaching lunar shadow. The dark portion of the sky on the right side of the frame is the lunar shadow moving in from the west. You can see that the elliptical shape is just about to overtake the sun.
Here's the Moon!
This image is another still frame from a time lapse series. This shot is several seconds after the previous one. Totality is upon us in this shot. Note the sunrise effect on the horizon. It was like this in all directions. The 360 degree sunrise! If you look closely, you can see planets and stars in this image. I've highlighted them in the next image.
Here's the Moon!
This is the same as the previous image, but I've added the names of the planets and stars that are visible during the eclipse. Looking even closer, you can see that the constellation Orion is visible on the right side of the image. I've highlighted Orion in the next image.
Here's the Moon!
This is the same as the previous image, but I've added on outline for the constellation Orion. Pretty cool...Orion at high noon. I love it!
There Goes the Moon
This image is a still frame from later in the time lapse series. In this frame, you can see the exiting lunar shadow. The dark portion of the sky on the left side of the frame is the lunar shadow moving off to the east, leaving our star just as it found it prior to the eclipse!