Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Small Place in Celestron Eclipse Highlights Video

I received an email today that said "Congratulations! Your footage was chosen to be featured in our Eclipse video."


Well, sort of...

Yes, part of the time lapse video I shot while at Camp Drake in Marshall, MO, as a member of the Project Stratoclipse team is included. It's even the background for the main title of the film! But it's just the clouds that obscured our view of the eclipse racing overhead. Not the umbra racing over the clouds. Or the Sun's corona shining through the clouds.

Not complaining... how could I when I have my name in the credits?!? Seriously though, check out the Celestron video. Apart from my footage, there is a lot of other great scenes from the eclipse. I really like how they focused not just on views of the eclipse through telescopes and cameras but also on people and their reactions.

After all, it really was AWESOME!!!

Celestron Video Page

Mission Success!!!

Just a little over a month ago I trekked to Marshall, MO, to be a part of something HUGE!

Yeah, there was the total solar eclipse but I'm talking about PROJECT STRATOCLIPSE! Two guys from North Texas decided sending a weather balloon over 20 miles up into the atmosphere to take video during the eclipse would be a great adventure, a way to capture a rare astronomical event and use the results for science education.


If you hadn't seen my previous posts on this, didn't follow along as we shared parts of the adventure live on YouTube and Facebook, didn't subscribe to the project YouTube channel, then CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!!!

It's of the shadow of the Moon, the umbra, moving across the face of the Earth as the Moon eclipsed the Sun. Shot from near-space. Nothing above but the black of night and, far below, all those clouds that spoiled our view from the ground. Did I mention the umbra?!?

Beau Hartweg, Jake Vaught... thanks for allowing me to be a part of your adventure. Ron Drake, Leah Townsend and the rest of Jake's friends and family in Marshall, thanks for hosting us, for making us feel at home while there. I went expecting to make new friends but I had no idea how many! Timothy Kimsey and your friends at Outpost Worldwide including Michael Wunsch and Kelcie Matousek, it was great getting to know you and I'm looking forward to seeing the film-to-come.

Thanks to Dr. J, Rosalie and everyone at the Frontiers of Flight Museum for helping support Project Stratoclipse.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Partial Phase Eclipse with Sunspots

With the adrenaline rush of racing 11 miles south at the last minute with Beau Hartweg to see totality through relatively clear skies, after we returned to Camp Drake, base of operations for Project Stratoclipse, I almost didn't have the presence of mind to take advantage of the fact that the clouds had finally cleared and take any shots of the partial phase of the eclipse. I guess it felt like since I'd missed the first half and totality to clouds, shooting any close-up shots was anti-climatic.

And then I remembered the sunspots. The show was almost over by the time I was set up again but I did manage to get a few decent shots before the end. The first shot is from about 6 minutes before the end of the eclipse and the second one is from less than a minute before the end (4th contact or C4). Note that in the second one there is another group of sunspots visible that were covered by the moon in the first one.

Pretty cool! Can't wait for 2024!

For anyone interested, these were shot with a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 80-400mm lens on a (roughly) polar-aligned equatorial mount. The shots were taken through a home-made Baader film solar filter.

About 6 minutes before end of eclipse (C4), one sunspot group. 

Less than a minute left before C4, second set of sunspots now visible.

Total Eclipse Time Lapse

This is a first pass attempt at creating a time lapse video of the eclipse using wide-angle shots taken in Marshall, Missouri.

The entire first half of the eclipse was obscured by clouds with the sun just peeking through at totality. Ironically, for most of the end of the eclipse (starting about 15 minutes after totality ended) the Sun was shining against a clear, blue sky.

Notice the umbra moving in from the right and then moving off to the left. In mid-totality, notice how distinctive the Sun's corona is, even as small as the Sun is in the overall image.

Not entirely satisfied with this, yet, but sharing while I continue to work on a "final" version. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cloudy Totality

Cloudy Totality

Due to the clouds, I didn't get the close-up shots of the sun that I'd prepared for, instead making a last minute dash 10 miles south for a spot with clear enough skies that we could at least see totality. While I'm disappointed in not capturing that view of the eclipse,  the experience of seeing totality with my own eyes was pretty incredible!

However, I did get a sequence of wide-angle shots for a time lapse. The first half is nothing but clouds and from about 15 minutes after totality until the end of the eclipse the sun was sitting in clear skies but the sequence still shows the movement of the umbra across the field of view and, as you can see in this shot from roughly the middle of totality, there is enough detail to be able to see the corona around the sun.

Still working on completing the time lapse... will post when it's complete.