Astronomy Sky's the Limit!

Well this is what happens when you get lucky, despite things not going according to plan.

In this high resolution view of totality during the November 2012 solar eclipse, as the moon moves across the sun, you can see the diamond ring, bailey's beads, prominences, the solar chromosphere (the thin red surface layer of the sun) and the inner solar corona.

Equipment: Takahashi FS-102 refractor telescope with 1.6x extender (F=1300mm, f13) with Canon 5D Mark II on an EQ6 equatorial mount. 73 exposures of 1/1600 sec at ISO100.

I was using Eclipse Orchestrator to control the camera, and had planned a sequence of varying exposures during the two minutes of totality to capture the range of brightness of the solar corona. But due to a silly change I made to the drive mode on the camera (after the successful 1am test on location during the night before), the software commands to update the camera settings via USB got out-of-sync with the shutter being fired by the serial Bulb cable. So instead of a complex HDR image showing the solar corona, I got a continuous sequence which I made into this video. I used Timewarp/Frame Mixing in Adobe After Effects to synthetically generate 10 video frames between each of the original images.

Not a bad result I think from a little mistake!

Soundtrack is 'Middle East Night' from iStock.

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