Sky's Up Summer 2016 - Page 14

Binoculars and Telescopes Nearly any binocular or telescope you own would provide satisfactory views of the total eclipse. Some observers prefer binoculars because it gives them the ease of observing other eclipse phenomena and then easily go back to totality. Others like the telescopic view. Do not use too high a magnification if this is your first eclipse; remember that the solar corona can extend several solar diameters. A mount that tracks will take away one potentially-distracting factor: continuing to center the Sun during the eclipse. Regardless of what equipment you use, be prepared to quickly put back on the proper solar filters at the third contact diamond ring. Eclipse Imaging If you decide to photograph the eclipse, check out your equipment well in advance, from your system’s focus to exposure. Focus is one of the most-critical factor to assure you take excellent images. Understand your system’s field of view; you do not want to miss out coronal features unless you are planning high-magnification imaging. Video will also provide a way to image the eclipse. Time lapse images of people – which also show changes in sunlight – can be fascinating. Many first time imagers will set their cameras to auto focus (if using the camera’s lens instead of a telescopecamera system) and auto exposure. The camera will ‘look’ for focus and have difficulties finding the focus. This is not something you want to be dealing with during totality. You should pre-set the camera at manual focus and infinity; just make certain the lens infinity setting is actually infinity. Seasoned eclipse imagers make certain they have fully-charged and reliable batteries and plenty of space on recording medium. Have extra batteries and PMC recording medium available; you do not want to shoot so many partial phase photos that you discharge your battery or use all available card space. Many prefer to 8 PrECisiON MOtiON CONtrOller image in the highest quality possible — usually “raw.” Look up! Finally make certain you look at the eclipse! Look for planets and stars right before and during totality. Notice the shadow as it approaches your site. Look for the sunset-sunrise effect: colors around the horizon. Look at Baily’s beads and the diamond ring, the signal that second contact – and totality – have arrived. ooo Dr. Mike Reynolds saw his first total solar eclipse March 7, 1970. He has lead numerous expeditions and observed 18 total solar eclipses – in 18 attempts; observing from land, sea and air. Reynolds’ observations and photographs have been published in numerous places, including the book Observe Eclipses and Astronomy. HePMC is the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers’ Eclipse Coordinator and Professor of Astronomy at Florida State College. 8 PrECisiON MOtiON CONtrOller Evolutionary Design for GOTO Mount Technology • Time-tested Losmandy G-11 mount ensures precision performance PMC eiGHT • Guide the PMC-Eight™ with the included ExploreStars™ app, which can easily locate 70,000 objects, or use your own ASCOM compliant sky software • Operates with Windows® PC, Tablet, or Smartphone. Not included. PrECisiON MOtiON CONtrOller Powered by Wireless Connectivity • Open source software encourages customization Losmandy ES Mount w/PMC-Eight™ – $3,399.99 ES-G11PMCEIGHT-00 • Powerful electronics include 8-processor micro-controller • Ultra-quiet stepper drives provide for peaceful observing • Wireless capability adds versatility What will you discover? ©2016 Explore Scientific® All rights reserved. Purchase information and authorized dealer locater available at our website. 14 Sky’s Up