Solar Eclipse Photographs

These stunning photos show the beauty of eclipses – read how they were taken from Earth.

Outer corona JW

I took all of these images from Earth in China, by the Gobi Desert, during a total solar eclipse in August 1 2008.

I used a Canon EOS 40D with an aperture of ƒ/8.0, a 560mm lens (a 100-400mm zoom with a 1.4x extender), a shutter speed of 1/4 and an ISO speed of 200.

Baileys Bead JW

This photo shows what appears to be beads of light around the eclipse. These effect is caused by light from the sun shining through lunar mountains and valleys but only last seconds.The photo was taken in China in 2008.

It was taken with a Canon 40D camera with a Canon 100-400mm IS Lens with a 1.4x extender, effective focal length of 560mm and aperture f/8. The camera and lens were mounted on a tripod. The exposure time was 1/2000s at ISO 200.

During the partial phase of the eclipse it’s essential to use a filter to prevent damage to the eye and the camera. I used a Thousand Oaks black plastic filter to remove 99.999% of the sun’s energy. Once the Diamond Ring effect was about to happen, he explains he could safe to remove the filter and capture Baily’s beads – although it is not safe to see them with the naked eye – and the total eclipse itself.  The image was cropped to bring out the Baily’s Beads and the prominences on the limb of the sun.

Inner Corona plus prominences JW

Another shot from China, by the Gobi Desert, from 2008. The photo was taken using a Canon EOS 40D with an aperture of ƒ/8.0, a 560mm lens, a shutter speed of 1/45 and an ISO speed of 200.

First Diamond Ring JW

As it says, this image shows what has been called the diamond ring effect. It was taken in the Gobi Desert in 2008, again using the same camera set-up, except with a shutter speed of 1/1500.

A composite sequence is shown below:


Lunar Eclipses

Lunar Eclipse JW

This was taken in Hampshire, UK, by me midway through a lunar eclipse in March 2007. I used a Canon EOS 300D camera with an aperture of ƒ/11.0, a 760mm lens with a 20-second exposure at ISO 400. Lunar eclipses are perfectly safe to view without eye protection.

In terms of solar eclipses, I cannot stress enough it’s safety first – including the partial eclipse.

For the eclipse, I would refer anyone to sites such as Stargazing Live, Astronomy Now and other reputable sites that explain what you can and can’t do in viewing an eclipse. No-one should look directly at the Sun with or without a camera or telescope unless it has reputable and approved high standard safety filters.

Photographs of the 2008 Solar Eclipse in China are here.

Ones from the 2006 eclipse in Turkey are here.

Lunar Eclipse photos from the March 2007 eclipse are here.


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