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Partial Solar Eclipse, Christmas Day, 2000


On Christmas Day, 2000 a partial eclipse of the sun was visible from northern New Jersey. Because Christmas Day occurs just a few days after the winter solstice, the sun was about as low as it gets in the sky. Sunrise to sunset spanned about 118 across the horizon, making it possible to record the partial eclipse as part of a sunrise-to-sunset panorama.

To create the panorama I took an image of the sun through a special solar filter every ten minutes as a multiple exposure on 35mm film. I combined these images with unfiltered images of sunrise and sunset and a noon panorama of the landscape. Because the entire panorama didn't fit on a single frame of film, multiple frames were carefully registered in a mosaic.

The image obviously took all day long to produce, calling for great patience from my wife on Christmas Day. I was running in and out in 20F weather every ten minutes tripping the shutter. The camera's self-timer took the image of me looking at the eclipsed sun through a solar filter at noon. I'm standing next to my Astro-Physics 155mm refractor, which was also equipped with a solar filter for partial-eclipse viewing.

The large rock visible on the lawn on the extreme right edge of this image is where the camera was later mounted (on a bolt epoxied into a hole drilled in the rock) for the year-long image of the analemma and associated movie.

Details of the partial eclipse are shown below.



Closeup of partially eclipsed sun


Nikon 50mm lens oriented vertically in portrait mode. Mosaic on Kodak Royal Gold 100 color negative film. December 25, 2000 from northern New Jersey. 2000

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