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Eclipse photographers - what are you planning on using?

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#126 SteveInNZ

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Posted 26 November 2023 - 04:25 PM

Matt,

 

Are you aiming for the same type of inner corona study as CATE with that setup ?

 

Steve.


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#127 tjm8874

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Posted 26 November 2023 - 05:44 PM

Interesting Thread for eclipse beginner! 

I reserved cheap and rural Gun Barrel City motel, Hertz, and American Air.

 

Mount : AM5 + iOptron 8460 (dual saddles)

Rig 1: Askar 80PHQx0.76 455mm f/5.4, ASI2600MC, SharpCap : to capture Baily's beads, Prominence to Corona.

  scope and camera are really sharp but I have no experience with SharpCap+ASI and eclipse.

Rig 2: Canon RF 100-400, Canon EOS R7, Set'n'C : Good Old Style, combat proven. just follow the sequence.

 

Rig 3: LUMIX ZS200D on general tripod, 4K video, to capture how I'm in panic under the eclipse.



#128 R Botero

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Posted 27 November 2023 - 10:58 AM

:waytogo:

Make sure you can get those rigs running before totality and actually enjoy looking at the eclipse!

 

Roberto


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#129 MattPenn

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Posted 27 November 2023 - 11:34 AM

Matt,

 

Are you aiming for the same type of inner corona study as CATE with that setup ?

 

Steve.

Yes, that's the goal.  We have half the spatial resolution as 2017, but that matches the typical resolution that was actually achieved among our 50 sites in '17.  For '24 we now have 14 bits rather than 12 bits and a faster optical system, and so we can reduce the number of exposures we need in our HDR sequence.  It has twice the FOV and will provide overlap between our totality images and the NASA images from LASCO C2 on SOHO.  It's 1/2 the price, and finally it can be transported in just part of a backpack, rather than requiring two shipping boxes. 

 

Our core team worked hard for the past year+ to find the best combination of off-the-shelf components to satisfy those broad requirements, and we think this package does an excellent job! 


Edited by MattPenn, 27 November 2023 - 11:38 AM.

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#130 SteveInNZ

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Posted 27 November 2023 - 02:06 PM

Matt,

That's excellent. I remember when you first floated the idea and it's such a great project on so many levels.

The evolution of your setup is also interesting.

 

Would you attribute the achieved resolution to atmospheric issues  or instrumentation like focus ?

 

Steve.


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#131 MattPenn

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Posted 27 November 2023 - 09:28 PM

waytogo.gif

Make sure you can get those rigs running before totality and actually enjoy looking at the eclipse!

 

Roberto

Hi Roberto,  Sorry for the late information, you may already know that SharpCap is much faster than FireCapture when you need to do HDR sequences.  My testing last year ran a sequence of 1.3, 0.13, 0.013, and 0.0013 sec exposures to find the average cycle time:
 

Sharpcap: 6 cycles, avg time is 3.63sec / cycle

Firecap: 6 cycles avg time is 5.90sec / cycle

NINA: 6 cycles avg time is 9.70sec / cycle

 

The communication back to the camera across the USB is the source of the overhead; SharpCap seems to do a better job with this, and it's the reason that we didn't use this method back in 2017 (in 2017 we used a hardware camera trigger generated by an Arduino unit).

Glad you've selected a refractor, CMOS, and SharpCap!

 

One additional thing:  in these totality images you will find that aligning an HDR sequence using the lunar image would be the easiest thing to do: the lunar limb is the highest contrast feature.  So you want to complete an HDR cycle during the time that the moon moves about 1 pixel across your camera... that way you can align the shortest exposure with the longest using the limb without smearing the coronal features.  This is why we are cycling through our exposures in order.  With 2.8 arcsec pixels, and with the lunar limb moving about 0.5 arcsec per second (relative to the solar corona), a 3.63 second cycle time means the lunar limb only moves only 0.6 pixels during an HDR set.  So we can align each HDR set using the lunar limb.  At each of our sites we'll get about 60 HDR images.

 

This is a different approach from the SER file capture that you mentioned above... you might consider it.  I found that it helped a lot when I analyzed our 2017 total eclipse data, which had 50 sites each capturing about 60 HDR sequences of 8 subframes... so about 1 TByte of data!


Edited by MattPenn, 27 November 2023 - 09:31 PM.

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#132 MattPenn

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Posted 27 November 2023 - 09:42 PM

Matt,

That's excellent. I remember when you first floated the idea and it's such a great project on so many levels.

The evolution of your setup is also interesting.

 

Would you attribute the achieved resolution to atmospheric issues  or instrumentation like focus ?

 

Steve.

Yes, the actual results were a combination of both defocus and seeing.  Most likely defocus, but seeing also contributes. 

 

As a former tenured astronomer for the National Solar Observatory, I feel like I can mention the following: some professional astronomers involved in our 2017 project who didn't practice submitted the absolute WORST data in the project... whereas two amateur astronomers in the project (Mike Conley and Russ Lucas will remain nameless... oops!) submitted the BEST data in the project.  

The difference?  Mike and Russ practiced, and some pros didn't practice.  So I'll echo what others have said... practice is mandatory if  you are going to get good data!!!!  Practice on the Sun, and practice on the crescent moon with Earthshine.  We are running a practice session with our team of 70 volunteer groups more than once a month from now until April.  And even if you can get it right during practice, the distractions and simple awesomeness of the eclipse might mean that you make a mistake on 8 April.

But this has been known for more than 2000 years: Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

PS - We are running a white-light solar flare project after the total eclipse, and have some interested people in Germany and Brazil that will join our group.  Please let me know if you are interested, and I'll post another note here on CN when that is running.


Edited by MattPenn, 27 November 2023 - 09:47 PM.

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#133 SteveInNZ

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Posted 27 November 2023 - 10:51 PM

Matt,

Please do make a post on CN about your next project. I can't promise that I'd be in a position to participate but at the very least, you'll get a 'thumbs up'.

 

Steve.



#134 maj

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Posted 01 December 2023 - 11:19 PM

I’d like to enter the conversation and hear any advice.  This was my setup for 2017 in Wyoming - Nikon D800 w/ Nikon 200-500mm on geared tripod head.  I was able to manually track and photograph well enough and still enjoy the eclipse.
]53328330350_ebceaa9478_c.jpg

A couple of my better shots of the 2017 event. The hi-res images of these turned out to be better than I expected.  Also these JPGs posted here show up at a lower resolution than the uploaded images - gets a bit better by clicking on the images. I shot the first two at f11 and ISO 640 - I’m thinking these could have been better at a wider aperture and slower ISO.

_HNM1984_copy.jpeg?width=960&height=720&

 

37575334722_f4fd5a4005.jpg

I don’t have the exposure data for the following two images.

36753698385_1910c2985e.jpg
 

 

37575891562_b7b9995d63.jpg

 

We’ve arranged a great spot in the Texas Hill Country and I’m hoping to improve for the 2024 eclipse with a few upgrades and better exposure choices.

 

This is a recent practice shot using a Nikon D850 and the 500mm PF prime at f6.3, ISO 200 at 1/6400s.  I think there is a clear improvement in resolution but wondering what I could do to further improve still using conventional photography.  I could opt for a mirrorless Nikon Z9 and an 800mm PF prime but that may not allow much slop for manual tracking.

53369929703_e405c3326a.jpg
 

Added: I’ve only used a Baader film filter so far.  I’ve read conflicting recommendations regarding a glass filter vs a film filter.


Edited by maj, 02 December 2023 - 09:43 AM.

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#135 DelVento

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Posted 02 December 2023 - 11:50 AM

Added: I’ve only used a Baader film filter so far.  I’ve read conflicting recommendations regarding a glass filter vs a film filter.

Very nice shots for a non-tracking tripod!!

 

If you want to get better results my recommendations are (in order of priorities):

 

- use German mount with tracking (this cannot be overstated how many doors it opens on what you can do)

- make many shots and do post-processing (this cannot be overstated how much can improve things)

- only at that point it makes any sense using longer FL

 

The FL I've chosen (for a D5600, a D5500 and a Z50) are a 250mm prime, a 300mm prime and 614mm telescope. 

 

WRT the glass vs film filter, IMHO the film ones are just fine (if not better from an optical quality PoV) -- and IIRC even the people who recommend glass do so only to ease the decision about exposure accuracy and not about picture quality. I believe the D850 ability to deal easily with underexposure and bracketing makes the advantage of a glass filter almost a moot point for you.


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#136 maj

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Posted 02 December 2023 - 01:30 PM

Thanks. I feel a bit intimidated when considering tracking mount but when I see the images posted here, I can see that it’s worth the effort and expense. I could see myself bungling it up at a critical moment though. I was looking into the Sky Watcher SolarQuest mount which seems pretty simple but my camera and lens would only be a hair under the weight capacity of that unit.  I’d appreciate any recommendations on a reasonably priced German mount. Is motor vibration a concern with a tracking mount? I’d hope that at shutter speeds exceeding 1/5000th, it would be moot point. 
 

For the 2024 eclipse I plan to shoot with a wide open aperture and as low an ISO setting I can.  I’m not sure what causes the radiating spikes in the shot of the Baily’s beads but I’d like minimize that effect.  I’m thinking it’s either an artifact of the aperture blades or the sensor array.  I don’t think I’ve seen that from telescope images.  

 

The lens I plan to use has a fresnel element and I’m not sure if that will affect how points of light will image.  From what I  understand, scattering or separation only affects out of focus points of light.  Something to test out. 



#137 aroughroad

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 10:12 AM

Apologies for the newbie question…but how to those using a dslr on a tracker mechanically rotate the camera sensor to line up with the sun’s poles?  Isn’t the camera sensor at a fixed angle and isn’t the camera fixed to the geared head?

 

Is it necessary to purchase a rotator of some kind and does that not impact the focal length / focus now that you’re messing with the imaging train?



#138 aroughroad

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 12:59 PM

You are very organised!  That looks like a fantastic spreadsheet.   I am no Python programmer but here's a script written by Dave Collings for the 2017 eclipse.  He used SharpCap for that:  https://forums.sharp...topic.php?t=103

 

SharpCap has a forum with a section dedicated to scripting so that may be a source of further information.  

 

I am content with its Sequencer and will be pressing START once my mobile tells me it's 5 seconds to C2.   I'm timing my exposures to that point in time.

 

This will be my first eclipse trying to image. All others have been visual and I intend to press START and forget about the camera/telescope/PC until it's over.   

 

I'll be on the rooftop of a building in Mazatlan so no chance of seeing the reaction of any animals besides other humans - including my wife and daughter - I guess...

 

In 1991, we were in a field with cows pasturing nearby.  They all came together as it happened!  And the birds, all singing.  Same happened in 2017.  Birds went full on.

 

Roberto

 

Hi Roberto, I'm curious how you are planning to power your rig from a hotel rooftop?  External battery for everything?



#139 SteveInNZ

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 02:28 PM

Apologies for the newbie question…but how to those using a dslr on a tracker mechanically rotate the camera sensor to line up with the sun’s poles?  Isn’t the camera sensor at a fixed angle and isn’t the camera fixed to the geared head?

 

Most telephoto lenses have a lens collar with a tripod mount foot so that the whole assembly is balanced. You can rotate the camera/lens assembly to any angle you want. Wide angle lenses tend to be shorter but you're not too concerned with getting a specific angle.

 

Steve.



#140 aroughroad

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Posted 03 December 2023 - 03:06 PM

Most telephoto lenses have a lens collar with a tripod mount foot so that the whole assembly is balanced. You can rotate the camera/lens assembly to any angle you want. Wide angle lenses tend to be shorter but you're not too concerned with getting a specific angle.

 

Steve.

Great, thank you.  I will be using a 100mm-400mm telephoto lens with a 2x teleconverter.



#141 R Botero

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Posted 05 December 2023 - 05:31 AM

Hi Roberto, I'm curious how you are planning to power your rig from a hotel rooftop?  External battery for everything?

It’s an Airbnb. I’m checking with my host on location of power outlets. The rooftop is a social area (many buildings in Mazatlan seem to have these) so there must be one somewhere. I’m taking a power bank just in case. 
 

Roberto



#142 kdenny2

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Posted 09 December 2023 - 03:59 PM

For those looking to software to automate your photography, what are you using? I've been starting to develop a python script that works with digicamcontrol, but the interval time between shots is simply too slow for my needs. Solar Eclipse Maestro is outdated and not compatible with my camera either.


Edited by kdenny2, 09 December 2023 - 04:01 PM.


#143 foxwoodastronomy

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Posted 09 December 2023 - 08:33 PM

maj,

Your 2017 eclipse images are great!

I do have a comment about your last image through the Baader Film and I want you to think about something.  You posted a full solar disk image with the following settings - "This is a recent practice shot using a Nikon D850 and the 500mm PF prime at f6.3, ISO 200 at 1/6400s."  Here is my question for you to consider; if you finish your last partial phase image at 1/6400s (or maybe a third of a stop slower), how are you going to get a 2-stop faster exposure to be ready for the brighter diamond ring and very bright Baily's beads?

 

That is the problem with using Baader film, it lets in too much light to have a good cross-section of shutter speeds for all parts of the eclipse.  My testing shows that Baader film transmits 2 1/3 stops more light than glass.

 

Regarding the clarity of glass filters for eclipse photography.  I just spoke to Fred Espenak after the 2023 annular eclipse and he still uses an old Thousand Oaks Optical glass filter on his main rig.  If glass is good enough for Fred, a world-class eclipse photographer, it's good enough for me.  I only use glass; I think the quality is fine and its light transmission characteristics is perfect to work with for all aspects of the eclipse with many different camera setups.

 

For completeness, I will add that I have also tested Thousand Oaks Optical SolarLite film and I find that passes 3-stops less light than glass.

Attached Thumbnails

  • baader.jpg
  • solarlite haze 1.jpg

Edited by foxwoodastronomy, 10 December 2023 - 07:05 AM.


#144 sam_ruhmkorff

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 05:52 AM

I'm looking for advice. I'm primarily a landscape photographer who dabbles in astrophotography. Would it be better to take a picture of the eclipse with a DLSR mounted to a Celestron Nexstar Evolution 9.25, or a Sony A7CR and a 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lens? I'm very much a novice and not trying to get too technical. The reason I ask is that I am planning to sell my telescope and wondering whether to do it before the eclipse. Thank you for any perspectives you would be willing to share!

Sam



#145 foxwoodastronomy

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 07:02 AM

I'm looking for advice. I'm primarily a landscape photographer who dabbles in astrophotography. Would it be better to take a picture of the eclipse with a DLSR mounted to a Celestron Nexstar Evolution 9.25, or a Sony A7CR and a 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lens? I'm very much a novice and not trying to get too technical. The reason I ask is that I am planning to sell my telescope and wondering whether to do it before the eclipse. Thank you for any perspectives you would be willing to share!

Sam

Sam, the Evolution 9.25 has a focal length of 2350 mm.  That is too tight for eclipse photography.  I would recommend the Sony A7CR and image at 600mm.  Gordon

Attached Thumbnails

  • film example fov.jpg
  • solar diameter scale.jpg

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#146 sam_ruhmkorff

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 10:13 AM

Thank you, Gordon! Very helpful!



#147 aroughroad

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 07:07 PM

It’s an Airbnb. I’m checking with my host on location of power outlets. The rooftop is a social area (many buildings in Mazatlan seem to have these) so there must be one somewhere. I’m taking a power bank just in case. 
 

Roberto

Got it.  FWIW, I was also looking into AirBnB's in Mazatlan, and two separate hosts with apartments at the Torre Peninsula told me that under no circumstances are guests allowed to access the roof of the building...



#148 R Botero

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 07:36 AM

Got it.  FWIW, I was also looking into AirBnB's in Mazatlan, and two separate hosts with apartments at the Torre Peninsula told me that under no circumstances are guests allowed to access the roof of the building...

I bet.  My AirBnB host has pictures of the roof of the building in the flat's description.  It's got solar loungers, tables, a bar, etc...I think I'm allowed.  I did my due diligence last year on this - and I speak Spanish...

 

Roberto


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#149 Zhengyi

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 09:02 PM

Got it. FWIW, I was also looking into AirBnB's in Mazatlan, and two separate hosts with apartments at the Torre Peninsula told me that under no circumstances are guests allowed to access the roof of the building...


Hmmm.that's concerning. I did not know this. Would you able to share the reason?

#150 SteveInNZ

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 10:43 PM

 I did my due diligence last year on this - and I speak Spanish...

 

I thought I had too.
When I booked our 4 storey hotel, I checked with Google street view that the building to the south was 2 storeys. It's now been replaced with a 19 storey apartment block. So I'm now working on Plan C.

 

Steve.





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