Russia 08 From Siberia

Aug 1 Total Eclipse from Ob Sea (Near Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia)

(c)2008 Robert J. Hawley Some Rights Served

Capturing the Edge of the Shadow

This movie combines the still photos and sound recordings I took during the eclipse. I have added a brief introduction at the beginning to aid in understanding what you are seeing

Get or Play a copy of the Movie in High Definition (1280x720) {46Mb}

This is the eclipse as a slide show.

More Detailed Explanation

The sun is not a point source of light.  Thus when the moon crosses in front of the sun the shadow it casts has fuzzy edges. What we call a total eclipse is that portion of the shadow where the sun is completely obscured. As an eclipse chaser I have always been square in the bull's-eye of the passing shadow.

The area of totality forms a fast moving ellipse on the earth. Just outside of this ellipse the sun is still shining although dimly (like at sunset).  I have visually noticed these sunset colors surrounding me in past eclipses, but have never been able to capture an image of the oncoming shadow of totality.

The 2008 eclipse was an excellent opportunity.  The shadow was not so small that it zoomed overhead (like in 2005) nor was it so huge that it covered the sky on both sides of the track (like in 2006).  As Goldilocks said the shadow was just right.

I needed a very wide angle lens (17mm) which was fortunately supplied by one of my colleagues.  I set my camera up on a tripod on full automatic exposures with center priority metering.  Using a programmable release I set the camera to take a bracketed set of pictures every 10 seconds.

It is easier to see the edges of the shadow once totality began.  On the far edge of the shadow (to the west) some well placed clouds reflected the twilight like colors of dusk. 

As totality ended you can see the curved shape of the edge of the shadow approaching from the north.  The sky brightens toward the northwest (on the right side of the field of view). The picture at the top of the website is from close to the end of the eclipse

2008 Eclipse From Space

Generated by Software Bisque Seeker

You can see the planets during an eclipse.  Mercury and Venus were both obvious.  Mercury is visible when zooming into the frames of my wide angle photos.  Venus was near the top of the full frame. I did not see any other stars (but did not spend a lot of time trying).

One suggestion I make to potential eclipse chasers is to cover one eye with an eye patch for about an hour before totality.  That way you have at least one fully dark adapted eye when the show begins.  It allows me to see much more subtle details in what is going on.

Eclipse 2008 in book form

TravelQuest assembled a book of pictures from all of the groups visiting the eclipse. It is a good read.



Creative Commons License
Capturing the Shadow by Robert J. Hawley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

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Copyright(c) 2008-2009 Robert J. Hawley Some Rights Reserved.

rjh 8/4/09