Sunday, August 27, 2017

Low Tech Eclipse 2017 Images

I made it home with my eclipse safety glasses just before the moon's shadow started to eat away at the sun. I had in my mind to try a couple of different low tech ways of watching the solar eclipse as well. My colander's holes seemed to be too big. (However, from what I have learned since, don't give up on something until at least 60% coverage. The holes were big enough that you did not see any difference using them as a pinhole camera at the early stages of the eclipse but then neither did the tree leaves. The pattern from the colander might have been pretty cool at our 75% maximum coverage like the tree leaf solar crescents we got later during the eclipse.) The two sheets of cardboard, one with a pinhole were cumbersome. The best quick pinhole camera that I threw together was made from a shoe box.

I cut out a quadrilateral a couple of inches across, from one end of a shoe box with a hinged lid. I stretched and taped a piece of aluminum foil over the opening. I used a safety pin to poke a hole in the aluminum foil. I pointed the hole at the eclipse and the image was projected on the inside of the other end of the shoe box. I propped the shoe box up on the patio so that the long axis of the box was aligned with the incoming sun rays and took a picture of the projection with my camera. As you can see we were already pretty well into the eclipse by the time I took my first picture of the image produced by my pinhole camera. I had been watching the progress of the moon's shadow with my eclipse glasses while experimenting with the projection methods. The first bite out of the sun was at about 12 o'clock and the shadow progressed pretty much towards 6 o'clock until our maximum coverage.

I kept thinking about what a shame it was that my colander, with its pattern of holes, had not shown the early stages of the eclipse so I decided to add more holes to my shoe box camera and experimented with the size of the holes too. The middle hole of the middle row of the rest of my pinhole camera projection pictures was my original hole. The most crisp images were formed with the smallest holes that I made with a needle. The closer to maximum coverage, the crisper the images became. The bigger holes blurred out more as the moon's shadow retreated and eventually disappeared off the left edge of the sun as seen from my vantage point.

We were lucky not to have had a cloud in the sky. As the solar eclipse progressed you could sense the light being a bit dimmer outside. At maximum coverage from inside the house it was quite a bit darker than normal. It was so dark that it seemed like a big storm should be about to hit. It was a strange sensation for it to be that dark inside with a completely clear sky outside at one in the afternoon.

I hope you had the opportunity to safely view the eclipse. I am looking forward to the total eclipse in 2024. We will be in the path of totality for that one. We will also be in the path of an annular eclipse the previous October with 80% of the sun obscured.

Click on the image of the sun crescents to enlarge.