Solar Eclipse 2014

Click for a larger picture

Click for a larger picture

We enjoyed a lunar eclipse just a few weeks ago but today we in North America were treated to a much rarer solar eclipse. The spectacle today was quite enjoyable in Jackson, WY, even though there were clouds obscuring the event right up to the peak. Then, miraculously, the clouds parted and we were treated to quite a sight.

The peak time in Wyoming was 4:23PM MST.  I’m betting someone got an interesting shot over the Tetons. I’ll bet Mike Jackson or Mike Cavaroc got something good, even though it was pretty overcast over there.

Click for a larger picture

Click for a larger picture

One of the most interesting parts of this event was the very large sun spots nearly in the middle of the sun. As we are in a peak of the sun spot cycle, this made for an especially interesting event. These sun spots are -only- at 2,700–4,200 °C compared to the surface of the sun at a comfortable 5,500 °C. This is the reason they appear so much darker. It isn’t that they’re not that hot, it’s just everything around them is that much hotter.

Live viewing with special filters for those in overcast and invisible areas can be seen on Of course! The most interesting thing visible in the online view was the solar flare or prominence. These are 1,600,000,000 times more powerful and the biggest atomic bomb ever made.  They are 10’s of millions of degrees celcius. Wrap your head around that one. The best part is no scientist knows why they occur. There are still mysteries out there.

One of the best tools for viewing a solar eclipse are these solar eclipse glasses. They’re sold on Amazon and such. Using these, you can actually stare straight at the sun. I have a pair and it’s pretty amazing that you can do that, as they block both the UV and visible light spectrum. You can look at the unobscured sun as well. Of course put them on BEFORE looking at the sun.

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See the sunspots? Click for larger picture

How did I get these photographs of the solar eclipse? Here’s the gear I used:

Nikon D800

Nikon 80-400mm f/4-5.6

Hoya 77mm NDx400 9 stop filter

Hoya 77mm Neutral Density (NDX8) 0.9 3-stop filter

Manfrotto Tripod and Kirk BH-3 ball head

These filters in combination were dark enough to look at the maximum eclipse without and problems. Once the moon started moving away from the sun, I had to use the DOF preview button on the D800 to keep viewing the event safely. Even adding on my Singh-Ray polarizer on top of these filters wouldn’t have been dark enough without either solar glasses or using the DOF preview.

I then shot all of my images on RAW and the above three are the best that came out. Other than shifting the color a bit to look more natural, these are as they came out of my D800. Normally I photograph jewelry, advertising, architecture and such, but fun sky displays always bring me outside.

WARNING: As always, NEVER look straight at the sun, ESPECIALLY through your camera. Permanent eye damage isn’t fun.

1 thought on “Solar Eclipse 2014”

  1. Vicki linsdau says:

    Great photos! Very informative!

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