Observation

Moon and Venus in conjunction

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Tonight Venus and the Moon were in conjunction. A beautiful show that was clearly visible in the Sacramento, CA area despite clouds in the horizon

Camera: Canon EOS 50D – with tripod and remote control
ISO: 500
Exposure: 2 secs
Focal Ratio: f/4.5
Focal Length: 96 mm
Original Dimensions: 4752 x 3168 px
Time: 4/17/2018, 7:37 PDT
Location: Sacramento CA, US
Post Processing: Adobe Photoshop CS6

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Niklas Henricson
Sacramento, CA

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A long cold and humid night but it was worth it

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I went off just outside Mather airport and started to set my telescope up. Unfortunately I didn’t have both of my telescopes with me so I couldn’t broadcast live. With me I had my  William Optics Megrez 72 APO.

The night was very humid, cold but there wasn’t any wind at all. As the eclipse was progressing the moon was turning more and more red/orange.

  • ISO-100 and 200 with Canon EOS 50D
  • Exposure Time: See each image for details
  • Telescope: William Optics Megrez 72mm f/6 Doublet Apo Refractor
  • Mount: Sky Watcher EQ6 Pro
  • Date/Time: 1/31/2018, 3:03 to 5:42 AM (PST)
  • File Format: RAW (CR2)
  • Weather Conditions: Cloud Cover from 40% to 10%, Transparency below average, seeing average 3/5, darkness 4.4 for 0.2 hours and magnitude 4.3 at full eclipse.
  • Wind: 6 to 11 mph (Forecast), 0 to 5 mph (Actual)
  • Humidity: 85% to 90%
  • Temperature: 41° to 50° F (5° to 10° C)

The humidity was the major disrupting factor this night. I had to bring in both telescope and camera twice and put the car heater on to get rid the moisture that was on the lenses causing the images to get worse over time. Unfortunately my telescopes are not equipped with a dew heater so over time they accumulate condensation from the surrounding air.

Despite that set back the night was remarkably beautiful and quiet. Only the airfield lights and street lights kept shining in the distant background. A few curious bypassing cars stopped to see what I was doing in the darkness and took the chance to look at the spectacle themselves. I must say they were very considerate and turned off their beams to not blind me which I appreciated lots. Thank you!

The results are presented below,

To work with lunar eclipse exposure times you can use the following formula in your preparations:

CodeCogsEqn

Where

  • t = exposure time
  • f = focal ratio
  • Q = lunar brightness value
  • I = ISO #

If you don’t know the focal ratio of your telescope/camera lens you can find that out by calculating f = focal length / aperture. Lunar brightness can be determined through the Danjon scale. More information on exposures and lunar brightness visit Mr Eclipse website here. Fred Espenak’s table breaks it down very straight forward and simple right here.

 

Niklas Henricson

First images from Lunar Eclipse in Sacramento

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These are the first images now from Sacramento as the eclipse is currently on-going.

 

Niklas Henricson

Great American Eclipse – More photos

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Three days after this magnificent eclipse I managed to process through some more photos out of my camera’s memory card. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to capture the diamond ring before the totality, just the one the came afterwards. Regardless, I am happy the sun got sunspots 2671 and 2672 clearly visible. It made the job a whole lot easier.

All images were photographed with a Canon EOS 50D, DSLR camera on prime focus method on a William Optics 110mm FLT APO f/7.0 telescope. While the live video on Youtube at the day of the eclipse was a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone with afocal method on a 32 mm ocular attached on a William Optics Megrez 72mm FD f/6.0.

The camera settings were, ISO-500, shutter speed at 1/3200 sec., 6000 K and the wheel setting was on M (manual mode).

Below is a composite image of all the solar eclipse phases that are displayed individually on the slideshow above. Click on the image below to expand it to its full size.

Mosaik-Entire-Eclipse
Solar Eclipse – Composite image

Niklas Henricson

American Total Solar Eclipse Photos

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This is the first portion of photos me and my wife took during the American Solar Eclipse, August 21st, 2017 at Corvallis in Oregon. I’ll keep posting more photos as time goes and as I find more time in order to process them from their original format in my cameras.

Here are some of the total solar eclipse photos. To the left is the diamond ring while on the right is the totality. Note a couple of prominences (fire flares) showing in the edges of the sun on the top but also the moon’s surface doesn’t appear to be perfect round because of the mountains and valleys in its surface.

We met many interesting and friendly people from Kenya (the country), Phoenix Arizona, San Fransisco bay area, Arkansas, Texas and other cities in California. If you guys read this please comment or send me an email with your names so I can add you here!

Among all of them we also had Jodie Smalley coming up to us, asking if we could take some photos while she breathed fire during the totality of the eclipse. My wife went off with her at a place without grass to record that awesome idea she had (watch the fire breathing video below were Melissa talks also about the shadows on the ground).

Below you’ll find some of our videos and photos while we were preparing to start documenting this amazing event!

To my surprise Youtube has stopped offering the ability to add annotations in your videos anymore, as mobile devices don’t support them. Annoying as you can’t add corrections or additional comments to the narrative sound in the background. But according to Google 60% of the users are using mobile devices to watch these videos, which is quite remarkable. However, just before the eclipse I shouted “ring of fire” which is the wrong technical term. Obviously, I meant to say “diamond ring” instead.

A ring of fire is the maximum of an annular eclipse. Now, annular eclipses are the ones when the moon is further away from the earth hence it doesn’t cover the entire sun. An annular eclipse is around the corner and will happen October 14, 2023 and you can see it from northern California.

After the 2023 annular eclipse and If you’ve also missed the 2017 total eclipse, there’s one more chance in 2024 in Texas.

 

Here are some photos from my friend and colleague Akash Garg who was in Sacramento, California at our work area. Even though the eclipse was partial in Sacramento, he could still see the crescent-shaped shadows on the ground from trees and other objects.

Niklas Henricson

2017 American Solar Eclipse – Preparing and testing for live stream

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It’s settled now. We’ve booked ourselves for Oregon and will be camping the weekend prior the American Solar Eclipse. We’ll be meeting up my old astronomy friends from Tycho Brahe Astronomy Society in Lund, Sweden as well!

Long time I’ve been wishing to share live stream with a fairly good quality on several of the events I’ve been attending, sharing my experiences to friends who are either unable to attend, or due to time differences are unable to watch. So on the 21st of August, I’m going to stream live here and on my Facebook profile. It will be set to public so anyone who wishes can watch.

I’ll do my best to answer on comments while the live streaming is going on. If I miss any question please keep repeating it until my eyes catch it.

Live Streaming Facebook

The stuff I’ve got now recently are, cell phone adapter for live streaming purposes that will be attached to one of my telescopes, Solar Finder and lots of souvenir paper glasses with sun filter aimed for solar eclipses.

 

Niklas Henricson

Redding & Shasta Astronomy Club

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Henricson family visiting Redding
Henricson family visiting Redding

For months I’ve been waiting for my astronomy gear to arrive from Sweden. I packed everything last summer in 2016 and didn’t get to access my telescopes until January this year. Last weekend we decided to visit our family member who lives in Redding which is a small town near Shasta lake divided by the Sacramento river. He lives in a beautiful place close to nature so we didn’t hesitate for a second to load the trunk with my astronomy gear. It takes around 3 hours to travel from Sacramento to Redding, which is fairly far away from the town to spend time with family.

Saturday evening we went to Whiskeytown Lake and met members from Shasta’s Astronomy Club. A nice bunch of people who took their time to introduce themselves and tell us stories on how often they gather around every week to observe the beauty of the night sky in that area. I was impressed by their telescopes and knowledge and was happy to be among other fellow astronomy enthusiasts, exchanging knowledge about the night sky.

We had a good time with the kids and got to observe Jupiter with its moons, Leo’s triplet and the moon. We will definitely be visiting Redding again, maybe without the kids so we can stay much longer!

Below is the world’s largest sun dial at Turtle Bay Exploration Park

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Thank you Shasta astronomy friends!