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Solar Eclipse on a Cruise Ship Equipment

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#1 Shane1200

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Posted 09 June 2023 - 11:20 PM

My wife and I will now be viewing the 2024 Eclipse from a ship instead of in Texas.  Instead the 3 telescopes with 2 cameras I was planning on using , I am down to a Nikon 5600 with solar filter and solar binoculars. 

Would be worth taking my 80 mm refractor on a az-gti mount or photo tripod?



#2 Alan D. Whitman

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Posted 10 June 2023 - 12:54 AM

My wife and I will now be viewing the 2024 Eclipse from a ship instead of in Texas.  Instead the 3 telescopes with 2 cameras I was planning on using , I am down to a Nikon 5600 with solar filter and solar binoculars. 

Would be worth taking my 80 mm refractor on a az-gti mount or photo tripod?

Well, it depends on how rough the sea is. But I have been on two eclipse cruises, 1998 in the Caribbean and 2012 in the open Pacific Ocean, and people successfully used scopes up to about 5-inch. During the eclipse the ships slowed right down. They were not stopped, because they would probably roll more if stopped. But they slowed down to just enough speed to make the underwater stabilizing wings work. But Canon image-stabilized binoculars are very popular with eclipse-chasers, and will give a fine view of the corona and prominences. I have been to ten totalities, but for five of them I just used binoculars and the unaided eye. For the other five, I took a small scope.


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#3 kfiscus

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Posted 10 June 2023 - 12:48 PM

Everything that Alan said above is true.  Another thing to consider is the decks will be quite crowded and busy during the eclipse.  The two eclipse cruises we were on('91 and '98) had a "No Saving Spots" policy announced by the captains.  If you left your spot, someone else could take it.

 

I was using film for photography back then, and the ship's motion was only detectable in my .5 and 1.0-second shots.

 

EDIT:  And I didn't leave my spot either time unless I was covered by my tag-team wife for short breaks.


Edited by kfiscus, 10 June 2023 - 05:05 PM.

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#4 nimitz69

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Posted 10 June 2023 - 06:50 PM

Which cruise are you taking?



#5 Alan D. Whitman

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Posted 10 June 2023 - 07:20 PM

Everything that Alan said above is true.  Another thing to consider is the decks will be quite crowded and busy during the eclipse.  The two eclipse cruises we were on('91 and '98) had a "No Saving Spots" policy announced by the captains.  If you left your spot, someone else could take it.

 

That reminds me of how important it is to have a spot near the rail, in front of everybody else, and not look back towards the crowd to see how the crowd is reacting to totality, or when looking at the 360-degree sunset colours near the horizon during totality. Because, despite repeated requests that people turn off the flash function on their phone since the flash is not going to light up the solar corona, people use their cellphone to take a quickie image of the eclipsed Sun, their flash goes off, and if you had the misfortune to be looking in their direction when it went off, you could have your vision badly compromised with spots before your eyes during the precious brief totality.

 

There were lots of foolish (inconsiderate) flashes behind us during the 2012 eclipse cruise (despite, as I said, public address announcements asking people to turn off the flash function). That was in 2012 -- I don't doubt that the problem is worse now. Because only a minority of the people on deck will be serious amateur astronomers. There will be many other passengers, or spouses and relatives of amateur astronomers, plus the captains allow every crew member who can be spared to go up on deck to see totality for the first time and make a lifetime memory.

 

Protect yourself by getting a good spot near the rail. And do not setup where the plume of heat from the funnel can pass between you and the Sun. The only people in 2012 who saw shadow bands were on the stern. Why? Because shadow bands are caused by bad seeing. And the heat from the funnel's plume will give terrible seeing (great for shadow bands, lousy for prominences and other fine details).
 


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#6 Shane1200

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Posted 11 June 2023 - 12:43 AM

The cruise ship is the Holland Zaandam out of San Diego.  I found out after I booked the cruise it was being use by S&T for the eclipse.  I've about decided to buy new binoculars /solar filer to use instead taking the 80mm refractor.

 



#7 foxwoodastronomy

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Posted 11 June 2023 - 02:38 PM

I saw the 2006 eclipse on the Mediterranean Sea in calm conditions and looking at my video camera imaging, on a standard camera tripod, the Sun moved up and down in the frame about one-quarter of the frame.  Ships will usually continue moving slowly forward to improve stabilization, but there will still be some rocking motion.

 

Even on a ship, in calm conditions, you can successfully shoot at a reasonable focal length, maybe 400 to 600mm.  Fred Espenak shot the APOD image on a ship during the April 2023 eclipse https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap230429.html

 

You should also try to do something wide-angle. (GoPRO)

 

There is no sense in using a guiding mount on a moving ship.

 

Make sure you know the captain's course plan (direction) ahead of time.  In 2006, we did not.  We were all on deck setting up for the eclipse, pointing our gear at the Sun, assuming we were in the path (I did not have GPS with me). In the open sea, with a high-altitude eclipse, it's hard to get your orientation.  We had no idea that about 10 minutes before 1st contact the captain was going to turn the ship 180 degrees so as to travel in the direction of the path!  So, we all had to change the direction we were pointing.

 

Getting on the rail is not that crucial because this is a high-altitude eclipse and you will be pointing high in the sky.  What is more important is to know the final direction of the ship as explained above.

 

Whoever is going to be the "eclipse expert" on the cruise and is helping the captain, give them the message to NOT mark C2, Max eclipse, and C3 by sounding the ship's horns!  Our captain in 2006 did that and it was the most annoying thing I have ever experienced at an eclipse.  It ruined the audio in everyone's videos for that eclipse.  I am serious, bring this up with the "eclipse expert" on the cruise.

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  • ship deck eclipse day labeled copy.jpg

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#8 SteveInNZ

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Posted 11 June 2023 - 03:09 PM

No need to sound a ships horn as every group seems to have at least one person that takes it upon themselves to announce everything at the top of their voice.

It's kind of interesting how big a spread the announcer's times are.

 

Steve.


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#9 bunyon

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Posted 12 June 2023 - 07:58 AM

I interpreted the advice to be on the rail as advice for visual observers. 

 

Which suggests to me that, ideally, you'd have the purely visual folks on the rail/outside and the imagers interior. That also minimizes the chances  your imaging rig visits Davy Jones.

 

And, yes, please, for the love of whatever deities you know, no flash images.



#10 Lefty38

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Posted 19 October 2023 - 05:57 PM

Shane1200,
I am on the same cruise as you.
hopefully we can find out the ship’s position and stay clear of the smokestack exhaust
I am not familiar with the acronym “S&T” ?
My plan is to use my  Nikon D850 with my 200-500 f5.6 with Thousand Oaks sheet filter on a tripod/ballhead

 

​David



#11 kfiscus

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Posted 19 October 2023 - 09:12 PM

^^^Sky & Telescope.^^^



#12 mdees88

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 11:54 PM

Here's another option to consider. I just shot the annular eclipse entirely handheld and got excellent results. This is because I used baader planetarium astrosolar PHOTO film OD 3.8 (not the SAFETY film OD 5.0). My exposures were 1/6400th F10 ISO 100 at 560mm on a FF camera. If you have room for a tripod and there is room on the ship to setup, then by all means bring it, but it is nice to know you can shoot without it if necessary.

 

Even if you shoot off the tripod, the fast shutter speeds will help eliminate motion blur from the rocking boat and might even slightly reduce any atmospheric distortions. Just know that this solar film is NOT viewing safe so no looking through the optical viewfinder, only live view.

I had a thousand oaks optical full aperture solarlite polymer filter on my primary camera, and I had to shoot ISO 640 just to get 1/10th of a second shutter speed. Pathetic. Even on a tracking mount I got plenty of blurry images due to high wind. The baader astrosolar PHOTO film and backup camera saved the trip for me.


Edited by mdees88, 30 October 2023 - 12:52 AM.


#13 Shane1200

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Posted 01 November 2023 - 12:05 AM

I tested just holding the camera in my hands during the Oct. 14 Annular solar eclipse.  I found it hard to keep the camera on the sun using a 300mm lens.  It worked better on the photo tripod.  I have also been testing attaching my camera to my 80 mm Meade refractor on a sw az-gti mount.     But I think  it would require  packing too much gear in the carry on bag and backpack since I would also be packing my binoculars.

I attempted using the 80mm on my photo tripod with the camera attached but it was to much weight for it to stay locked on the sun.   I have the Orion Versa Go E-Series tripod but it would not fit in the suitcase even with head removed and the legs unbolted.  The tripod for the az-gti fits in the 28 inch suitcase. 

 

I like using the camera  attached to the Meade 80 since I can screw in a zoom 8-24 eyepiece into the camera and get a nice large image of the sun showing sunspots.  I am going to see if using a Barlow will work instead of the zoom eyepiece, since I'm having to add a extension tube with the eyepiece. Which means another piece of equipment I would need to pack. 





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