On December 4, the world will experience the last Solar eclipse of 2021. It will be a total solar eclipse visible from Antarctica and partially from the Southern tip of South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
What is a total solar eclipse?
A total solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the sun is completely obscured by the dark silhouette of the moon. This phenomenon cuts off all the direct rays of sunlight from the observer.
Unfortunately, the last Solar Eclipse of the year will not be visible from India.
Although not visible from India, sky watchers and enthusiasts of Astronomical phenomena can delve into learning how to capture a total solar eclipse. Ajay Talwar, an astrophotographer and Vice President of the Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi shared tips on how to capture a total solar eclipse.
About Ajay Talwar
An avid night sky photographer, hailing from Gurgaon, Haryana he shot his first total solar eclipse from Barkakana in Jharkhand on October 24,1995. In 2006 he travelled to Turkey to capture it again. On 21st August 2017, he captured the ‘Great American Eclipse’ in Idaho, US.
What should be the ideal focal length? Ajay Talwar answers
The focal length of the lens or telescope should be more than 1,000mm. In case of a total solar eclipse, the focus is not on the sun but around the sun. The sun is covered and only the Corona of the sun’s atmosphere extending upto two or four solar radii is visible.
The key question to ask is what part of the sun does one actually wish to capture?
If one wants to capture the innermost Corona, a focal length of 1,000mm will suffice. For the outer parts of the Corona, one can go lower to 800mm, 500mm or even down to 200mm.
He also addresses questions like the ideal range of exposure
According to Ajay Talwar, all exposure settings are good to capture a total solar eclipse. With less exposure, the inner Corona will be properly exposed and given more exposure, the outermost Corona will be properly captured.
Therefore Astrophotographers use a range of exposures beginning from 1/100th of a second depending on the focal length.
The most important element that dictates a good photograph is planning and preparation to reach the spot at the right time before the magic happens.
Ajay, has given us a few tips to ensure that happens-
Arriving at the location about three days before the eclipse and carrying out a full rehearsal.
Programming all the exposures beforehand- the equipment, the exposures are all computer operated and timed down to seconds.
Lastly and the most important one is to relax, enjoy and immerse oneself in the view happening right before the eyes.
Although India will find itself missing in action from the last total solar eclipse of the year, it will be ready for the next happening.