2024 Solar Eclipse

Today was the second total eclipse in North America in my lifetime. I wasn’t able to get to totality in 2017 or today, but I did bring out my solar telescope for both events. In 2017, I took the scope up to an elementary school and had a great time showing the kids the moon crossing in front of the sun. Today, my youngest kid was home to view the eclipse with me while the others were at school:

Wesley and I looking at the eclipse through a solar telescope

I set up my Coronado Personal Solar Telescope on the Celestron CG-4 mount and manually tracked the sun. I also set up my Olympus OM-D E-M1 micro 4/3 camera on a tripod, aimed it at the eyepiece, and manually set the exposure and focus. This was a bit finicky since the Earth’s rotation meant I had to continually move the scope, and then adjust the tripod the camera was on. I’m decently happy with the image I got, but wish I could have captured more detail in the sun’s surface that I could see with my eyes. This image was taken at maximum here near Denver, with the sun eclipsed around 66%:

The moon eclipsing the sun, 66%

We saw the annular eclipse last October where the sun was around 78% obscured. It’s wild how wrong the sunlight appears. It’s so much dimmer than a typical sunny day, but the light isn’t diffused like if it were cloudy. The shadows seem totally wrong, with the fun bonus of pinholes of light casting eclipse-shaped shadows. I’d love to be able to be in totality some time, though I may have to travel outside the US if I don’t want to wait until 2044.