Monday, May 28, 2012

Solar Eclipse Time Lapse Video

I've finally managed to pull it off, although there was a lot of manual labor involved. I collected all the pictures that I took during the 20 May 2012 solar eclipse and merged them into this time-lapse video.

These pictures were taken through my 120mm f/8.3 telescope from the observatory deck at the Chabot Space and Science Center. I set up the camera (connected to a computer) to capture a frame about every 25 seconds, and let it fly. You can see the eclipse from the beginning until the sun got lost in the trees near the horizon. There are even some sunspots on the surface of the sun, just to prove it's real:-) You can see that the moon passes a little above center, so this counts as a partial eclipse, but it is complete enough that you can clearly see that even if the moon were to have passed right over the center of the sun, it would not have covered the entire sun. This is what makes it an annular eclipse.

I used gimp (on Linux) to crop and align all 300 frames, then I used ffmpeg to combine the frames into a video stream. Of course I have all the original images, which at full resolution look a little better then individual frames of the video (no jpeg artifacts) but the video really does give one a good sense of what is going on. The embedded video above looks pretty good, but I suggest clicking the "YouTube" button to watch the highest resolution version on YouTube. There, the quality is good enough that you can watch various sun spots as they are covered by the moon passing by. Those sunspots show up even better on the full-resolution stills, so I may post more of those.

This video gives a nice bit of perspective. While watching the eclipse live, the pace is such that it is a little less obvious what exactly is going on. While we obviously know what's happening, this video makes it more visceral. I like that. So here you go, and enjoy.

Next project is to do the same thing for the Venus transit. Let's hope the weather cooperates for that.

1 comment:

  1. The moon blocked out the sun in a total solar eclipse today, briefly turning dawn back into night over parts of northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean. production company london