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Images from the Partial Solar Eclipse of Oct 23rd 2014
Its rare for one to live in a place where the heavens just decide to show you their wonder. The path of Oct 23rds eclipse wen right through Minneapolis, USA where I currently live. Not to miss this, i loaded my scope and filter in the car, and set it up at my workplace’s parking lot right after work. The sight that made the eclipse special was the massive sunspot AR2192 which is as big as Jupiter. As seen from here. the maximum of the eclipse about ~ 50% was able to obscure some part of the sunspot.
Another thing that was interesting was the ability to resolve surface limb features on the moon. Contrary to what one would imagine, the moon has a very rocky terrain, since there is no wind, water or volcanic activity to smooth out the surface. Looking carefully we can see this detail in the images above
Some EXIF info
Taken using a Canon Rebel XT at prime focus on a 5″ MCT telescope F/12
ISO100, 1/2000 s exposure
Baader Astrosolar safety filter
Partial Solar Eclipse, Oct 23rd 2014
A partial solar eclipse is going to occur on Oct 3rd, 2014 and unfortunately will not be visible from India. Skywtchers in the United States Mexico and Canada are going to be able to witness this event. The maximum of the eclipse is expected at 9:45pm UTC
Eclipse as Seen from Minnesota, MN, USA at 17:50 CDT
The eclipse will make a good photo shoot event with Venus in the background
Classification of Solar Flares
Solar Flares are classified according to the amount of energy emitted by them per unit area. The classification is based on the energy released in the 1-8 Angstrom band.
Typically we have 4 major classes designated by letters B,C,M and X, with X being the most powerful of flares. Each of these letter classes is further subdivided into 9 subdivisions. So a X class flare can exist from X1 to X9, with X9 being the strongest flare.
|Class||Flare Power (W/sq.m)|
|C||1E-6 to 1E-5|
|M||1E-5 to 1E-4|
First X Class Flare in Four years
The silence and boredom has ended. It seems that the yellow ball in the sky has decided to show that its not dead yet. After an unusually long hiatus, a large sunspot group just below the solar equator has formed. The spots recently released an M6 class solar Flare on Feb 13th at about 1738 UTC. This was followed up today by a X2 class flare released on Feb 15th on 0156UTC. Both flares have ejecta (coronal mass ejection) hurling towards earth, triggering geomagnetic storms over the polar regions of our planet.
X-Ray emission data from SOHO-CELIAS instrument, Wavelength from 1 t0 500 Angstrom
The flare originated from the sunspot group designated 1158. Astronomers predict that this feature on the sun isn’t done yet and there may be more fireworks soon. Besides the pretty auroras, flares like these can be annoying too. Strong flares have known to cause problems in power transmission lines, destroying sensitive electronics on board satellites and deep space missions.
19.02.2011: Another M Class Eruption, There is 75% chance of more outbursts soon
Pitfalls of an Eclipse Flight, Lessons learnt
It’s easy to be wise after the event- Some wise man
Ok, recently you may have heard a couple of space-nuts chartered a B737 jet to chase the July 22nd eclipse from a height of 41000 feet. I guess considering the monsoon, it was a good idea that would guarantee that you atleast got to see the eclipse. Passengers paid approximately Rs 80,000 for “sun side” seats and Rs 29,000 for “earth side” seats. Personally I don’t know why would I pay to see the sun’s shadow on earth.
From that point of view it was a good idea, considering places like Taregna, Patna, Shanghai and most parts of India got clouded or washed out!
However people on board with cameras and photography equipment will be kicking themselves because of some things that got overlooked. When you dig deep into your pocket for an experience like this a little more research should have gone into it
It may me useful to remember that while shooting from a plane’s windows, ( yes.. in case you forgot, you’re inside the plane and you have to take photos from inside the aircraft’s double paned window, both of which usually have thousands of microscratches) two results are inevitable
The image of a bright object may have double reflections from both window surfaces. Unfortunately this will always be there and playing with the camera focus cannot get rid of it. The sun will be at infinity and the extended light path due to reflection does not affect it. The result??, see for yourself
Look at this picture of totality taken from the eclipse flight, if you look carefully, there is a double reflection glaring at you at the bottom edge of the image. This was a specimen frame drawn from video taken by the BBC media crew on board the flight. We checked this with other videos taken by AAJ TAK etc, which also had the same issue.
There is also a second problem. As mentioned earlier, the windows are usually scratchy and not very clean. It is pretty easy to get rid of these scratches out of focus in the image. However with a eclipse, especially the diamond ring a big quality issue arrives.
The microscratches on the window scatter light in all directions completely ruining the photo. Both images above were taken aboard the eclipse flight.
One of the reports we heard from the people conducting photographic experiments onboard had another unforeseen issue, Apparently the plane went off charted course to bypass some clouds, sending their automation software “Eclipse Orchestrator” haywire
If you were careful in reading what I wrote, yes there are CLOUDS at 41000 feet. We got wind of this fact a day before the eclipse. A curious me and Vishnu did ask the Captain of our Spicejet flight to Varanasi when we landed at Babatpur for the eclipse
So if you are serious about taking pictures of totality, you might want to keep these details in mind before swiping that credit card.
The views expressed in this article are by the Author only, and may not be shared by the AAAD as a whole
AAAD – ECLIPSE REPORT – VARANASI 2009
After the intoxicating cosmic ride, its time to key my thoughts .
Firstly, felicitations to the team including Anindya, Debnath, Puneit, Vidur, Mayank, Himanshu and yours truly!
Varanasi was a special choice to begin with, what with the surreal feel and effervescent life-giving Ganga. The ghats would offer a stunning view should mother nature decide to share our prayers and enthusiasm!
Many thanks to the preliminary group including Anindya, Debnath, Puneit and Himanshu for reaching early and selecting a stunner of a site. The terrace of the Anami Lodge on the Assi Ghat with a panorama of the Ganga and clear horizon across was magnificent. Anindya, our very own banarsi babu deserves special mention for his initmate knowledge annd pulse of the place.
Vidur, thanks for the lovely T-SHIRT design and Raghu, (Team Sasaram), thanks for the execution, both Sasaram and Varanasi had an identity!
The preparation was immense and exhaustive with DSLRs, Video Cameras and “Point and Shoots”. All of us gave our all during the night catching only a few moments of rest. Aside from scouting and selection of the place, our preparations involved elaborate and educated guesswork on the weather (which proved correct!) and timing the set-up of equipment and execution.
21st night provided a clear night sky (who said city skies are bad?) and we spent the time in doing what we love – deep sky observation. We managed good images of the Eagle Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, M6, M7, M45 and other MW objects aside from Jupiter. At 3 a.m., with Venus standing bright and tall, the signs were ominous – we were not going to be denied.
From then on, it was a queer and unadulterated mixture of confidence, hope and hysteria that caracterized the remainder of our solar journey! With the mystic black ((c) Puneit), enveloping the blinding gas ball over sublime grey skies, we all felt enveloped by the power of this magnificent world we inhabit.
Many thanks to Raj mama for his amazing guidance pre-trip (and the polaroid camera (Mayank shot some beauties (no pun intended!)) and Celestron C6 (Sasaram), Wish you were there!
Many thanks to Chinmaya for his enthusiasm pre-trip, Wish you were there too!
Many thanks to Nikhil (friend of CB, great pics!), Sunita, Prof. Ravinder Singh (Univ. of Patiala) and relative (Mirzapur), Amit (TOI) and family, Tushar (and brother and friend), Chitrangada, Tanuj and Manoj (Astronomica) and all others on the terrace for being with us!
Many thanks to Dr. Rathnasree for her untiring efforts for TSE 2009.
Many thanks to Vikrant (@ Patna) for his high pitched super charged voice at 3 a.m., there’s no one quite like you!
Gargantuan felicitations also to the Sasaram team (we are one!) who put in an equal amount of effort if not more!
Lets meet on SUNDAY and rejoice!
PS – Did I mention “divine intervention”
How to make a pinhole projector to safely view the solar eclipse
Dark-colored plastic cup
a shuttle cork cardboard box (both sides open)
Use the pushpin to punch a hole in the center of the cup’s bottom. Cut out a piece of wax paper slightly larger than the cup’s mouth. Stretch this paper across the mouth of the cup. Use a rubber band to secure the paper.
now insert the cup inside the shuttle cork box with the bottom of the cup outside and the side with wax/butter paper inside (see that no light enters from the cup side and there is complete darkness if you see through the other side)
now point the pinhole towards the sun you will see a small dot forming on the butter paper that is the disk of the sun as the eclipse proceeds the sun starts forming a crescent phase
PS NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY TO THE SUN IT DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF ECLIPSE IS ON OR NOT !!!
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE JULY 22nd 2009
Mark your calendars folks, its surya-grahana time in India again. Come July 2009 the moon will eclipse the sun as seen from India, Bhutan,Bangladesh,China, Japan and the Marshall Islands. Its going to be the longest solar eclipse for over a century and guess what, this time the path of totality passes through India. This eclipse pass over India comes after almost a decade. The last two eclipses happened in 1999 and 1995.
The eclipse begins on the 22nd of July 2009 at around 5:30 am IST in India and spends almost two hours passing the subcontinent. The path of totality will pass through central India passing over Surat, Ujjain, Baroda, Bhopal, Patna, Darjeeling, and Dibrugarh in the far east. Rest assured the Bohemians will be out there somewhere chasing the eclipse.!!!!
Click to Enlarge
Circumstances of the Eclipse
For a full list of Eclipse circumstances CLICK HERE
Eclipse Safety : Observing Eclipse Do”s and Don”ts
Before we go on I must warn you to NEVER EVER look at the sun especially the PARTIAL PHASE through unprotected eyes or homebrewn filtering mechanisms.
The use of homebrewn filters is recommended to seasoned astronomers only who understand the risks involved! There are however very simple ways to observe an eclipse without putting your eyes in harm”s way
One of the simplest method to observe the sun safely is through a pinhole projection camera. This can be used for viewing the partial phases of the eclipse. During totality however, it is perfectly safe to watch the eclipse naked eye.
To learn how to make a pinhole camera CLICK HERE
Alternatively you may use a solar filter
The first thing you must remember is that the human eye has no nerve endings, so if you burn your retina, it will not hurt. 😛 , which is all the more reason that caution is advised while observing the sun
It is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse, without the proper equipment and techniques. Even when 99% of the Sun”s surface (the photosphere) is obscured during the partial phases of a solar eclipse. This is primarily because nearing totality the ambient light levels become so less that our pupils dilate and the iris tries to allow in more light into the eye.
During the partial phase any surge in sunlight, like the one seen during a diamond ring formation can cause excessive solar radiation entering the eye and causing a burn on the retina.
In spite of these precautions, the total phase of an eclipse can and should be viewed without any filters whatsoever. The naked eye view of totality is not only completely safe, it is truly breathtaking
Update: May 29d 2009
AAAD Observation Plans
Update: March 3rd 2009
The Solar Eclipse: Facts, Fiction and Pregnant Women
Update: March 2nd 2009
Average Cloud Cover along the Central Line of the Eclipse