Photographing the Solar Eclipse

Mar 19, 2015

How exciting is it that we will experience a partial solar eclipse tomorrow (March 20th). We won't see another partial eclipse again until 2026, and a total eclipse won't happen until 2090. It's an amazing phenomenon, BUT, please do not try and photograph the eclipse with a digital camera or your camera phone. Even if you have an expensive DSLR camera, you must have a specialised solar filter on your lens to capture it. Without this, you are risking damage to both your camera, and your eyes. The eclipse can damage your eyesight even through a lens. And your lens is not designed to be pointed at the sun. It only magnifies it, making it look larger, therefore causing more damage to your eyes. This is the same with a telescope or binoculars. If you just want to watch the Solar Eclipse, this is dangerous too unless you have the proper Solar Eclipse Sunglasses. Without them, the sun could blind you. Do not think that Sunglasses will shield your eyes. They won't. Do not look at the sun through dark material or binculars.. Infact, don't look at the sun at all. Even the smallest part of the sun peaking from behind the moon is enough to blind you. We wouldnt stare at the sun any other day, so we shouldnt think that an eclipse is any different.

If you dont have the proper equipment needed to watch or photograph the Solar Eclipse, you don't have to miss out! There are other things you can do.

1. Photograph the environment around you. The UK will experience some darkness. We should have around 85%-95% coverage here in the South West. This is a great time to photograph your surroundings. Keep an eye on the animals around you, whether it is your pet, or the birds. They sense a change in light, and their behaviour will change too.

2. Watch your own shadow - Hold two fingers/hands 90 degrees to each other. One shadow will be sharper than the other.

3. Build a small pinhole camera/projector. Pinholes allow light through them and can create an image like a lens. Make a small hole (no more than 4mm) in a piece of card using a compass or other sharp-pointed implement. Standing with your back to the Sun, position another white card behind the one with the pinhole so that the Sun projects an image onto it. Do not look through the pinhole at the Sun.

The peak time to view the eclipse is between 8.30 and 9.30am. If you do get some photographs (safely), I would love to see them.

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