How to Photograph an Eclipse

Here are some tips on how to photograph an eclipse, with advice on the best cameras and settings to use.

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What is an eclipse?

An eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking out its light. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is between the sun and Earth, and a lunar eclipse occurs when Earth is between the sun and moon. The next solar eclipse will occur on August 21, 2017.

What equipment do you need to photograph an eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is an amazing thing to see. If you want to photograph it, you’ll need to do some planning and make sure you have the right equipment.

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
-A DSLR camera with a telephoto lens. The longer the focal length of the lens, the better.
-A tripod to keep your camera steady.
-An ND (neutral density) filter. This will help reduce the amount of light coming into your camera so you can properly expose the image.
-Solar glasses or a solar viewer. You’ll need these to protect your eyes while looking at the sun during the eclipse.

If you have all of this equipment, you’re ready to start planning your shots!

How to set up your equipment to photograph an eclipse

In order to get the best photographs of an eclipse, you need to have the right equipment and know how to set it up. Below is a list of what you’ll need and some tips on how to get started.

-A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. This type of camera gives you the most control over your settings, allowing you to change things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
-A tripod. Because an eclipse can last for several minutes, you’ll need a way to keep your camera steady during the event. A tripod will do the trick.
-A telephoto lens. This type of lens will allow you to zoom in on the eclipse without losing image quality.
-An ND filter. An ND filter is a special type of filter that blocks out some of the light coming into your camera, allowing you to use a longer shutter speed without overexposing your image.

Now that you have all the equipment you need, it’s time to set up your camera. First, mount your camera on the tripod and attach the telephoto lens. Then, screw on the ND filter (if you’re using one). Next, point your camera towards the area where the eclipse will be taking place and use the viewfinder to center it in the frame. Finally, adjust your settings until they look good to you and press the shutter button!

Tips for taking great eclipse photos

The best way to photograph an eclipse is to use a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens, mounted on a tripod. Use manual settings on your camera, and experiment with different exposures to find the best results. Make sure to use a solar filter on your lens, and don’t look directly at the sun without eye protection!

What to do if you can’t see the eclipse

If you can’t see the eclipse, there’s still plenty you can do to photograph it! You can use a telephoto lens to capture the partial phases, or set up a pinhole projector to safely watch and photograph the event.

How to safely view an eclipse

A total solar eclipse is one of nature’s most incredible sights. Here’s how to make sure you enjoy it safely.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible across parts of the United States. It’ll be the first eclipse visible across the whole country since 1918, and the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.

If you’re in the path of totality, you’ll be able to see the moon completely block out the sun. It’s an incredible sight that’s definitely worth seeing. But it’s also important to be safe when viewing an eclipse. Here are some tips to make sure you enjoy it safely.

What to do with your eclipse photos

With the right kind of camera, you can photograph an eclipse in progress, and the results can be stunning. Even with a point-and-shoot or smartphone camera, you can get some great shots of an eclipse in progress, as long as you know what you’re doing. With practice and preparation, anyone can get great eclipse photos.

There are two basic types of eclipse photography: wide field and close-up. Wide-field eclipse photography is pretty easy: just point your camera at the sky and shoot. But if you want to get really good eclipse photos, you’ll need to do some close-up photography, which is a bit more challenging.

Close-up eclipse photography requires special equipment, such as a telescope or binoculars equipped with a solar filter. If you don’t have this kind of equipment, you can still get some great shots by using a telephoto lens on your camera. But be warned: it takes practice to get good results with telephoto lenses.

Here are some tips for taking great eclipse photos, no matter what kind of camera you’re using:

– Use a tripod: Eclipse photography requires long exposures, so unless you have a very steady hand, you’ll need to use a tripod to avoid blurriness.

– Use a solar filter: Unless you’re using special equipment, you’ll need to use a solar filter to protect your eyes and your camera from the sun’s harmful rays. Solar filters are available online and at many camera stores.

– Use live view: If your camera has live view capabilities (most do these days), use it! It will make it much easier to keep the sun in frame while you’re taking long exposures.

– Take lots of shots: The beauty of digital photography is that it’s easy to take lots of shots and then choose the best ones later. So don’t be afraid to take hundreds of photos during the eclipse; chances are, only a few will turn out well, but those few could be amazing!

More eclipse resources

As the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse approaches, more and more resources are becoming available to help you make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Here are a few of our favorites.

For detailed information about the eclipse, including maps of the path of totality and tips for safe viewing, we recommend

If you want to learn about eclipse photography, one of the best resources is This site includes helpful guides for DSLR and smartphone photography, as well as a forum where you can ask questions and share your eclipse photos with other enthusiasts.

For live updates on the eclipse, we recommend following @Eclipse2017 on Twitter. This account is run by Astronomers Without Borders, a non-profit organization that is organizing global events to celebrate the eclipse.

FAQ about eclipse photography

Q: Why is the eclipse so dark?
A: The moon is blocking the sun’s light.

Q: How can I photograph an eclipse?
A: You will need a special solar filter to protect your camera and your eyes. You can also use a telescope or binoculars to project the image of the eclipse onto a piece of paper.

Glossary of eclipse terms

The following is a glossary of terms used to describe various aspects of solar and lunar eclipses.

-Abutment: A support that prevents something from toppling over. In an eclipse, the Moon’s abutment is the Earth’s shadow.
-Annular eclipse: An eclipse in which the Moon’s disk is not large enough to cover the Sun’s disk completely, so that a bright ring (annulus) of the Sun’s disk remains visible around the dark disk of the Moon.
-Antumbra: The cone-shaped shadow cast by a body where no light source is visible. The antumbra of a lucidal body extends beyond its limb (the edge of its disk). Someone within the antumbral shadow experiences a partial eclipse. The further you are from the center of the antumbra, the greater the partial eclipse.
-Baily’s Beads: Bright beads of sunlight that shine through valleys on the limb (edge) of the Moon during a total eclipse just before and just after totality. Baily’s beads are named after Francis Baily who explained them in 1836. They are best seen through binoculars or a telescope, with or without solar filters.
-Cairn: A stack of rocks used as a marker, usually atop a hill or mountain peak. In Bhutan, cairns were traditionally used to mark paths through mountains and forests; now they have been largely replaced by painted markers called dalangs. Cairns are also used to mark religious sites such as monasteries and temples, as well as important places in history or legend such as tiger traps (tigers were hunted with nets). Many cairns can be found along pilgrimage routes throughout Asia and Europe; some known examples include those at Mount Kailash in Tibet and Great Stupa in Nepal.
-Chromosphere: The gaseous outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, which is normally only visible during a total eclipse when it appears as a red flash around the edge of the Sun’s silhouette just before and just after totality.
-Corona: The tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun, composed of plasma (hot ionized gas). During a total solar eclipse, the corona can be seen as a ghostly halo around the Sun’s silhouette; it appears much brighter than usual because there is no bright daytime sky to reduce its contrast.
-Eclipse magnitude: The fractional part of the apparent diameter of either Sirius covered by Regulus (0.92), or that of Venus covered by Mercury (0.53), divided by two; for an annular solar eclipse, 1 – ((C – B)/(C + B)); where C = greatest magnitude central line duration and B = magnitude at beginning or end not on central line but within 0.[01] days’ distance from it; for a lunar eclipse 0 – 2((L1 + L2)/(L1 – L2)), where L1 = longest path through umbra and L2 = shortest path not passing through umbra; for transits 1 – ((D – W)/(D + W)), where D = greatest dimension measure across disc crossing meridian at any time including points when contact first starts or ends outside measure across disc but within 0.[001] days’ distance from point on measure across disc equidistant between contact points at start or end time respectively; for grazing occultations 1-(P/Q), where P = greatest chord length completely within limits set for being considered grazed while Q=least chord length completely outside those limits

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