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Measuring Starlight Deflection during the 2024 Solar Eclipse

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#1 dbruns

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 12:58 AM

In 1919, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was proven during a total solar eclipse by measuring the arcsecond shift of a few stars near the sun. This was successfully repeated in 2017 using amateur telescopes and cameras. Based on lessons learned and advances in CMOS cameras, the same experiment performed in April 2024 could result in even more spectacular precision. I am helping to coordinate an effort to repeat this experiment in Mexico. If you have a transportable small refractor, mount, camera, and laptop, we have room for you! There is a preferred list of optics and cameras, but some variations would be useful so that all of the results could be combined into one final plot that accurately demonstrates the curvature of space. Please contact me if you want to commit some time to all the calibrations and tests starting any time now. Based on your level of expertise, a few evenings testing with a full Moon would be a good starting point.

 

Donald Bruns

San Diego


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#2 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 04:53 AM

Can I participate from Dallas?  Could you describe the observations you'll be making?  e.g. Are we talking about taking images of the sun or another region of the sky?



#3 dbruns

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 01:22 PM

Hi Matt,

 

Yes, images of the eclipsed Sun are needed to see the stars. For more information on what I did during the 2017 eclipse, see http://www.stellarpr...2017eclipse.htm

It is a rather simple observation, but practice and testing during a full moon would help.

 

Don Bruns

San Diego



#4 Jim in Sweden

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 05:48 AM

I hope to be observing from Central Texas. I will be with a group travelling from Sweden. We have varying levels of expertise, from beginners to highly experienced observers. Can we use a small star tracker ( Sky watcher) and DSLR? We do have a SXV 694 ccd, as well as a ZWI ASI 290 and an Orion Star Shoot qhy? Get me started in the right direction!

#5 dbruns

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 03:32 PM

Hi Jim and others,

 

We are hoping to get amateurs of all levels involved in this experiment. Setting up a remote telescope is really not too difficult, with practice, and we are automating the imaging sequence so that people can enjoy the eclipse without paying too much attention to the telescope. The best telescope needs to have a focal length about 500mm-700 mm, with a camera that can see at least a 2 degree diagonal on the sky. A monochrome camera is needed, and the pixel plate scale should be about 1 arcsecond per pixel, although that is a little flexible. CMOS cameras can download images much faster, so they are preferred to get lots of images.  The best way to see if your equipment will work, is to image the sky centered on a full moon from your home location, any month.  The stars near the moon should be visible, and the locations of those stars simulate what happens during a solar eclipse. If you can measure the star positions in those images to an arcsecond precision, you will have success in 2024!

 

Don Bruns

San Diego




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