This image tracks the progress of the sun across the sky as it is progressively covered and uncovered by the moon. Here’s how this image was created.
The Great American Eclipse will cross the United States August 21, 2017. This is the best total solar eclipse in the U.S. in 38 years. This series of articles is your guide to the best information about the eclipse.
Originally posted June 26, 2017. Updated periodically and re-posted July 25 and August 20. Most recent update: August 22, 2017. There are now 38 articles in this series. The most important articles are indicated below.
If you want to do time lapse photography of the eclipse with a stationary lens, you need to know the changing elevation of the sun and how far it will travel across the sky. And then you need to know which lens will have a wide enough and high enough angle of view to take it all in.
Most landscape and nature photographers shoot early and late in the day, and move around a lot, so shooting the eclipse will be a new and different thing. Here are some basic things you should do to protect yourself and your camera. Plus I have an important reminder for your car. Continue reading
It is looking iffy in the hinterland right now, but don’t give up all hope just yet. The Washington Post says their overall forecast confidence is “medium” two days ahead of the big event. The confidence level will go up as we get closer to the eclipse. They are posting a new prediction every day. If you have a flexible schedule you can still change your eclipse travel plans to head to a less cloudy place. That is my plan. This will be my last update of the Washington Post eclipse forecast.
If you have the flexibility to travel to any of several prime eclipse locations it is getting harder and harder to keep track of the eclipse weather and make a final location decision. The forecast is changing daily for several locations. My process for making a final location decision might be helpful to you as you make your final eclipse plans.
The sensors in many digital SLRs (DSLRs) are smaller than a full frame digital sensor which is about the size of 35mm film (24x36mm). When a lens that was originally designed for a full frame digital sensor is put on a cropped sensor camera body, the field of view is different. The image created looks like the focal length of the lens has been magnified so this is sometimes called the “magnification factor”. A 100mm lens on a digital camera with a 1.6x magnification factor produces an image that looks like a 160mm lens on a “full frame” DSLR or 35mm film camera.
The longer the focal length of your lens, the bigger the sun will be in your frame. That is why I recommend 70-300mm, 100-400mm, 150-600mm, and similar zoom lenses when photographing the sun.
Most vendors of safe, approved eclipse glasses, binoculars, and solar filters are out of stock, but there are a few left. Links to buy them follow.
Update August 19. As of 10 am today (EDT) the only item in this article that you can still order is eclipse glasses from Lunt Solar Systems and fulfilled by Amazon. Unfortunately they can not be delivered until August 21 which could be after the eclipse is over. If you want to try anyway: Order here. Choose “Available from these sellers” and then choose Lunt Solar Systems. Lunt Solar Systems is on the list of AAS approved vendors.
Eclipse totality maps from Oregon to South Carolina. If you have to make some big changes in your preferred eclipse location based on last minute weather changes, you will need a quick way to find an alternate location. These maps will be a big help. Just stay between the red lines and the closer you are to the blue line the longer totality will last. Click each map for a larger version.
A solar eclipse is dangerous for everyone and children are especially at risk. Even when the sun is 99% eclipsed it can do serious eye damage. This is what you need to know and do, especially with all the unsafe counterfeit eclipse glasses that have flooded the market.
This is great news! Once again you can order solar filter sheets made by Thousand Oaks Optical. The solar filter sheets are being sold by Agena Astro at Amazon.com.
Updated 11:56 PM EDT, August 12, 2017 to update links.
Do NOT use eclipse glasses to look through the back of binoculars, telescopes, or a camera viewfinder. It is incredibly dangerous. Ignore the foolish and totally irresponsible advice on the internet that you might get away with it. Just don’t do it.
Reliable dealers with safe eclipse glasses, binoculars, and solar filters are running out of stock. To make matters worse the market is being flooded with counterfeits that are not safe. If you buy a counterfeit item you could end up with permanent eye damage, reduced vision, or go completely blind. This article will take you to the safe stuff.
That depends on the strength of the filter. Many of them are not safe.
Should you buy a Thousand Oaks Optical filter sheet from “Rix Beauty” (or any other non-approved vendor) at Amazon? For now, my advice is no. Why? Several reasons. The most important is you have no idea if the filter sheet was actually made by Thousand Oaks Optical, or if it is a fake. This also applies to all the other eclipse products at Amazon that are sold by non-approved vendors.
Originally posted August 6, 2017. Updated with new information August 8, 2017.
You can make your own inexpensive high density filter to photograph the eclipse. But there is a catch. It is not safe to use to look at the sun, and you should not look through the viewfinder of the camera because you could go blind or suffer serious, permanent eye damage.
Originally posted August 6, 2017. Revised and expanded August 14, 2017.
It is getting very hard to find safe solar eclipse glasses that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. A week ago I found ten safe vendors of solar eclipse viewing and photography products. Nine of those vendors are now out of stock. The good news is the David Chandler Company has them in stock so you can order now with no delays.
Originally posted August 5, 2017. Updated August 8, 2017.
Finally! I have found some high quality filters to photograph the eclipse. As I worked my way down the lift of safe vendors of solar eclipse products, the first 12 were totally out of stock. And then, success! But first, two notes of caution that could save your eyesight.
Even in a digital age with fancy apps for your smart phone, tablet, and computer, a planisphere is a handy, low tech tool to have. It is a map of the night sky to show you what is up there based on the date and the time of night you choose.
Originally posted August 4, 2017. Revised August 8, 2017.
I am so pleased to share this video featuring the excellent images of Quiet Shutter Photography (Winnie and Bill Johnston). Winnie is the person who kept bugging me to bring my total immersion nature photography workshop to the campground they manage on the shores of beautiful Lake Charlevoix in Northern Michigan.
This article could save your sight. If you bought solar eclipse glasses recently from Amazon, they could be fake and unsafe, even if they have the ISO certification printed on the glasses. You should throw them away.
It is very dangerous out there for buyers of solar eclipse glasses, as in dangerous for their eyes. The American Astronomical Society says “the marketplace is being flooded by counterfeit eclipse glasses that are labeled as if they’re ISO-compliant when in fact they are not.” Quartz is reporting “Solar-eclipse fever means counterfeit glasses are flooding Amazon’s market”. That means it is no longer safe to order solar eclipse glasses from Amazon or other third party web sites. You have no way of knowing if the glasses are safe or not. So what should you do?
UPDATE August 4: Read this important article first: Unsafe Counterfeit Solar Eclipse Glasses Are Flooding Amazon and Other Online Markets
UPDATE August 3: I found another source of safe solar eclipse glasses. See below.
UPDATE August 3: Fake Eclipse Viewer Certification. See below.
This is your last chance. The bad news is almost all of the solar filters that are safe for viewing and photographing the Great American Eclipse (August 21) are now sold out at dealers all across the country. Only a few safe options are left. If you want to photograph the eclipse there is only one inexpensive option left (less than several hundred dollars).
If you want to know when the Great American Eclipse begins, reaches totality, and ends from the location of your choice, you need a local eclipse calculator. This article shows you two simple calculators and one GPS calculator.