Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

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lrt75914
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Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by lrt75914 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:04 pm

Hi guys,

My family and I are planning to visit our friends in South Carolina next year for the solar eclipse. Seeing how this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity I figured I should put some money on the table and buy a proper imaging rig to capture the rare event. One problem I have is that I need to be able to take the whole equipment with me on an airplane, so it needs to be sturdy enough to take a beating and small enough to comply with airline regulations. Another problem is that most of the H Alpha telescopes I have been looking at over the past few days may produce some awe-inspiring images, their price however is way beyond what I would ever pay for a piece of equipment with such limited use. Furthermore, I feel like a solar eclipse does not look all that pleasing in H-Alpha. So, after seeing this amazing image of the 2006 solar eclipse

Image

I figured my best corse of action would be to capture the solar eclipse in white light. Given the limitations I have to work with - and the fact that I would probably want to use my dad's SW Star Adventurer as a mount - I came up with the following imaging setup:

- Skywatcher Esprit-100ED
- Skywatcher Star Adventurer
- Baader 2" Cool-Ceramic Herschel-Prism
- Zwo ASI 1600 MM-C

Keep in mind that I choose the rather expensive Skywatcher Esprit 100 and Zwo ASI 1600 MM-C because I would also use them for deep sky imaging. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the setup and whether there are better options out there. I am not dead set on a white light set up but all the H-Alpha options that I have looked at were either to expensive or to unreliable and therefore not something I would want to use for a solar eclipse.


Cheers!

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by robert » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:45 pm

The image you like is not filtered at all. It is a composite of several exposures from very short to quite long combined to accommodate the huge dynamic range of the solar corona. A DSLR with a long focus lens taking a series of single exposures is what you need to do this and a camera tripod, no need for video or driven mount etc or any filter or Herschel wedge (only of use before and after totality). Totality is only 1-2 minutes and you have time to take a series of shots with manual exposure set to the pre determined values.
I think you are right to look for white light only and totality, the corona is the amazing part of the eclipse and not easy to image, mainly processing time afterwards.
http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/E_COMP.HTM
This webpage shows some methods to combine the images for one corona shot from a series of DSLR shots.
http://www.zam.fme.vutbr.cz/~druck/eclipse/Index.htm
This one has some amazing images and a detailed instruction sheet on how to do it, perhaps over the top but very informative.

Good luck
Robert
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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by astro1949 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:53 pm

where in SC ? i use a canon 400mm lens on a MK5d-II no filters fo the total part --- in fact, i can shoot straight into Sun with no filters --my 70-200 and 100-400mm lenses have no reflections.

good luck
bob
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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by lrt75914 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:05 pm

robert wrote:The image you like is not filtered at all. It is a composite of several exposures from very short to quite long combined to accommodate the huge dynamic range of the solar corona. A DSLR with a long focus lens taking a series of single exposures is what you need to do this and a camera tripod, no need for video or driven mount etc or any filter or Herschel wedge (only of use before and after totality). Totality is only 1-2 minutes and you have time to take a series of shots with manual exposure set to the pre determined values.
I think you are right to look for white light only and totality, the corona is the amazing part of the eclipse and not easy to image, mainly processing time afterwards.
http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/E_COMP.HTM
This webpage shows some methods to combine the images for one corona shot from a series of DSLR shots.
http://www.zam.fme.vutbr.cz/~druck/eclipse/Index.htm
This one has some amazing images and a detailed instruction sheet on how to do it, perhaps over the top but very informative.

Good luck
Robert
That's very interesting. Is it safe to image the solar eclipse without a solar filter? I know that an unmodded DSLR Camera would have an IR/UV Filter in front of its sensor, but would that be enough to keep the sensor safe? Pointing a telescope at the sun without any safety filters feels a bit odd. :)
astro1949 wrote:where in SC ? ...
The plan is to take a day trip to Columbia, South Carolina and watch the solar eclipse from there. Nothing is set in stone, however, so we'll see where the weather will take us.
astro1949 wrote:I use a canon 400mm lens on a MK5d-II no filters fo the total part --- in fact, i can shoot straight into Sun with no filters --my 70-200 and 100-400mm lenses have no reflections.

good luck
bob
How much did you pay for your 400mm lens? I thought about getting a canon telephoto lens but most of them are as expensive as a new apochromatic refractor while offering no real gain when it comes to image quality or edge performance - at least as far as I know. I'm no daytime photographer so I'm not sure if there are any benefits in buying an expensive camera lens for the sole purpose of imaging the solar eclipse.

Cheers and thank you all for the quick response,

Patrick

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by marktownley » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:42 am

I'm probably going to use a DSLR and a 70/420mm refractor for my travelling setup.
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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by robert » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:49 am

You could use a Herschel wedge with scope for the partial phases which are very bright, but also slow and undramatic compared to totality. (Baader astrosolar film is much cheaper for this.)Totality is visible with the unaided eye and very much dimmer. It still looks bright but that is looking directly at it. You need to be ready to look away or add filters when the sun appears again. Dazzlingly bright.

This a sequence of stills extracted from a hand held consumer video camera shot of the Turkey 2006 eclipse. The camera survived and you can see the huge increase in brightness as the tiniest bits of disk appears.
http://www.robertarnold.co.uk/photograp ... s/0329.htm

DSLR is the way to get corona images either single shots or composite. You are probably right about using a scope if you don't have a tele lens already.
Robert
Last edited by robert on Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
images and animations http://tinyurl.com/h5bgoso
2018 images https://www.flickr.com/photos/69734017@ ... 1234171714
2017 images http://tinyurl.com/gvk9k3k
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LS60PT-LS60F-B1200. B600-Cak. PGR-Ch3-IMX265

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by robert » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:53 am

"Pointing a telescope at the sun without any safety filters feels a bit odd. :) "

during totality you are photographing the moon and just most of the sun's corona which is very much less bright than the solar disk
Robert
images and animations http://tinyurl.com/h5bgoso
2018 images https://www.flickr.com/photos/69734017@ ... 1234171714
2017 images http://tinyurl.com/gvk9k3k
ED80. SW200. ES127. Celestron-150mm-PST mod
LS60PT-LS60F-B1200. B600-Cak. PGR-Ch3-IMX265

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by astro1949 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:44 pm

the Canon was about $1100.00 it's one of the "L" series ( canon's pro Line).
i use it for daytime photos all the time, just happens to be a good lense for sunset's .......

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by Bob Yoesle » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:16 pm

For my second total solar eclipse I'm going to use the Mark 1 eyeball imager - see No. 24 & 25:

http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/b/astronomy ... lipse.aspx

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by robert » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:49 am

Bob Yoesle wrote:For my second total solar eclipse I'm going to use the Mark 1 eyeball imager - see No. 24 & 25:

http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/b/astronomy ... lipse.aspx

B ;-)
I think that is a very good plan Bob!
images and animations http://tinyurl.com/h5bgoso
2018 images https://www.flickr.com/photos/69734017@ ... 1234171714
2017 images http://tinyurl.com/gvk9k3k
ED80. SW200. ES127. Celestron-150mm-PST mod
LS60PT-LS60F-B1200. B600-Cak. PGR-Ch3-IMX265

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by marktownley » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:05 pm

I've moved this topic to this section of the forum as i'm sure it will get more views here as we get closer to the eclipse...
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http://brierleyhillsolar.blogspot.co.uk/
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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by Anthony M » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:36 pm

I'm a newbie at solar imaging too, but since the OP mentioned watching it with family, I thought I'd make an experienced comment - After thinking about it some more, I'm also following Bob's recommended Mark 1 imager suggestion as well, so I'm just taking 1 basic lens and DSLR and will leave my new HA scope and tele's at home for this one (we are flying to see it, but that's not the deciding factor ). We drove from So. Calif to see the 2012 annular eclipse in Utah, and I brought 2 DSLR bodies, 2 large tripods, a 600mm/f4 and 300mm/2.8 tele to shoot it with, but the best photos we came home with were point and shoots of the family looking up at it with all of our mouths open in unison :cool: + :o (someone really needs to combine these to make a sunwatcher emoji for 2017!)

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Re: Advice on an imaging setup for the Solar Eclipse 2017

Post by Sunwatcher » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:47 pm

Any Birders out there?
A piece of Baader solar film and a little time gets you a great solar scope.
Mine is a Pentax 80mm, f12 scope with Sony RX100-II camera attached with a Digiadapter.
digiadapterfeb2017.jpg
digiadapterfeb2017.jpg (129.51 KiB) Viewed 4069 times
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