Solar Observing


About Solar Eclipses

A solar eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the Moon passes between our planet and the Sun and obscures that view for those of us down here on Earth. There are different types of solar eclipses most commonly; a total solar eclipse, annular solar eclipse, or what’s known as a partial solar eclipse. In the example of a total solar eclipse, the moon completely blocks the surface of the sun and those of us lucky enough to be located directly in the Moon’s shadow will experience darkened skies and be able to see the Sun’s corona. An annular solar eclipse is otherwise the same phenomena but when the Moon is at or near its farthest point from Earth. A partial eclipse is when the Sun and Moon’s orbits aren’t perfectly lined up, only a part of the Sun will be eclipsed.

When is the next solar eclipse?

The next solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024 which will be where the moon completely obscures the light from the sun alternatively known as a total solar eclipse. After Solar Eclipse 2024, the next total solar eclipse that can be observed in the continental US will not be until all the way in 2044 so it’s definitely not one to miss!

How do I safely view and otherwise photograph a solar eclipse?

Solar viewing glasses are a safe way to protect your eyes when looking at the sun. There are also solar binoculars and solar telescopes that are safe alternative ways to view the a solar eclipse if you’re interested in observing one. When it comes to photographing a solar eclipse, you will need to take a few precautions. For starters, to aim your camera, you will need to look towards or at the sun but it’s dangerous to do this with your naked eye. The only exception to this is during a the moment of a total solar eclipse when the Moon is completely blocking the Sun’s rays. Additionally, do not look at a solar eclipse through your camera as the combination of your camera and lens will magnify the light and energy of the sun to a point greater than what the solar viewing glasses are designed to protect you from.

You likely will not be looking through your camera the entire time, so have the glasses handy when you take a break from photographing. Any camera—film, digital, mirrorless, SLR, DSLR, camera obscura—if it is properly protected from harsh solar light, can be used to photograph a solar eclipse. However, lenses with longer focal lengths will allow you to fill the frame more effectively with the sun

Do I need to protect my camera when photographing a solar eclipse?

You should use a certified solar photography filter to protect your camera and lens. There are two basic types of filters—those that screw on your lens like a traditional photographic filter and those that slip over the entire front of the optic. If you want a screw-on type that doesn't exactly fit your lens, you can adapt those filters with step-up rings.