Sunday, 17 January 2016

TSE 2016 Thoughts

The Total Solar Eclipse of March 9th is approaching quickly. After much deliberation over cameras and lenses to use I have decided to go with the most portable.

I will be on board the Holland America Volendam cruise ship with plans to be in the Makassar Straights for totality. We will be at sea which of course means the platform will be vibrating, maybe rolling a bit, and the exact position of the ship relative to the eclipse will remain a variable up until the very time of totality. Portability is best.

Partial Eclipse at SEC2014

So my equipment list is modest. Binoculars, a small camera, and a tripod. Getting pictures before and after totality of friends and family are best done with a basic camera. During totality I am going to use a wide angle lens with the goal being to catch the horizon, sky, and silhouettes of fellow chasers.

Backpack of Eclipse Chasing Gear
Our planned location will provide about 2 minutes and 45 seconds of totality. Not that totality is ever long enough. Settings for the camera will be just about the same as sunset. ASA 400, 1/2000s up to 1/125s. Around the middle of the show I will set the camera aside and watch with the 15x70 binoculars as 3rd contact takes place. At 15x the view of third contact is dramatic. Just before it one can see the corona lighten up on the side the chromosphere will appear. Strong sinews of plasma are mesmerizing. Yup, binoculars are the best. Just got to make sure I take the filters off before totality!

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