Solar Eclipses 2024

For years our colleagues have been hunting for the next solar eclipse in the most remote places in the world. See e.g. our previous blog posts on AstroSolar.com:


We can look forward to two solar eclipses in 2024!

Total Solar Eclipse in America on April 8th, 2024

Map of the eclipse on April 8th, 2024. Source: wikipedia.org

Observers in Central and North America can look forward to a total solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024. It will start in the western Pacific; then the moon's shadow will move fast to the north-east. It will cross Mazatlan in Mexico and the Niagara Falls on the border between the USA and Canada, among other places, before leaving the mainland in Newfoundland again. The eclipse then ends in the North Atlantic.

If the weather cooperates, the eclipse can be seen for the longest time in the mountains of Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental: The sun will there be eclipsed for almost four and a half minutes.

As the eclipse can be seen from the easily accessible United States of America, affordable accommodation and flights are likely to have long since been booked - but we can expect a great deal of coverage on social media, which should provide us in Europe with numerous images and live streams. Only from the westernmost regions of Europe will we be able to catch a glimpse of a sun that is only eclipsed by a few percent; this eclipse will remain unobservable from Central Europe.

Annular Eclipse on October 2nd, 2024 in South America and the Pacific

For the second eclipse of this year, we have to leave Europe, too: There is a rare annular eclipse on October 2nd, 2024 – unfortunately, the shadow of the moon passes over larger land areas only in the South of  South America, otherwise this event can be seen only from the southern parts of the Pacific Ocean. One of the few islands from where it can be seen is the Easter Island, besides that, there are few good spots for observing it. In contrast to a total eclipse, the Sun's corona will not be visible in october, and the Sun will be so bright during the maximum eclipse that you still need a safe solar filter to lok at it. Large parts of South America can at least witnes a partial eclipse.

Authorized Baader Planetarium Dealers in America

ALPINE ASTRONOMICALOur distributor in the USA

www.alpineastro.com



A partial solar eclipse will not be visible from Europe again until March 29th, 2025, and a total solar eclipse will finally be visible from Spain again in August 2026. So there's still plenty of time to plan your 2026 summer vacation!




First, as always, the warning:

Never look directly into the sun without a suitable filter! Otherwise you risk serious eye damage or even blindness. Always use a certified sun filter in front of the lens of the camera or telescope, or use certified solar viewers when observing with the naked eye.

Safe observing

If you are travelling to see a Solar eclipse please always take appropriate safety precautions when observing or imaging the Sun. A popular accessory for safely watching a solar eclipse are the "wearable" 1 x Solar ViewerSolar Viewer AstroSolar® Silver/Gold (1pc, 10pc, 25pc, 100pc) Solar Viewer AstroSolar® Silver/Gold (1pc, 10pc, 25pc, 100pc) (various versions available) which reduce the sun light intensity by 99,999% and also give 100% UV- and IR-protection. If you have any concerns or questions about safely observing or imaging these events please contact one of our authorized Baader Planetarium dealers or ourselves.

You can easily build a pair of lens filters yourself from AstroSolar® Safety Film OD 5.0 (ECO-size, 20x29, 100x50, 117x117 cm)AstroSolar® Safety Film OD 5.0 (ECO-size, 20x29, 100x50, 117x117 cm) AstroSolar® Safety Film OD 5.0 (ECO-size, 20x29, 100x50, 117x117 cm) (various versions available) and cardboard, or you can use ready-made ASBF: AstroSolar Binocular Filter OD 5.0 (50mm - 100mm) (various versions available) , that are mounted onto the lenses and additionally secured with Velcro. An interesting alternative are the Celestron EclipSmart binoculars, in which the solar filters are permanently installed right from the factory.

If possible, use a sufficiently high tripod to observe in a relaxed manner: Through the solar filter you will only see black until you have the sun in the field of view. Therefore, it is not easy to find the sun in the sky! With a tripod, you can observe in a much more relaxed way and also have your hands free to protect your eyes against stray light. Ten times magnification is also about the limit to which you can hold binoculars steady in your hands.

For the best quality, you should use a ASTF: AstroSolar Telescope Filter OD 5.0 (80mm - 280mm) (various versions available) owners of lens telescopes can also use a Herschel wedge.

On the sun, on the other hand, the solar granules become visible at higher magnification in addition to the sunspots: a network of countless gas bubbles over 1000 km in size that rise from the boiling interior of the sun, much like in a pot of boiling water. It becomes even clearer with the Baader 7.5nm Solar Continuum Filter (540nm)Baader 7.5nm Solar Continuum Filter (540nm) Baader 7.5nm Solar Continuum Filter (540nm) (various versions available) in addition to the AstroSolar Filter; it raises the contrast even.

Photography

You can also mount a solar filter in front of a telephoto lens; the same safety instructions apply as for observation with the naked eye or through binoculars/telescope. As long as you photograph the entire sun, you can use the same film as for visual observation (i.e. filter factor ND5). The weakere AstroSolar Photo Film OD 3.8AstroSolar Photo Film OD 3.8 AstroSolar Photo Film OD 3.8 (various versions available) is only for when you want to photograph details on the sun with long focal lengths (usually with eyepiece projection or a Barlow lens) and a video module.

If you use manual mode, a low ISO and short exposure times, plus a medium aperture (around f/8), then most lenses will produce the sharpest images – at smaller apertures (f/16, f/32) the exposure times only increase unnecessarily and the image sharpness is no longer optimal; at open apertures (f/1.8, f/3.5 or similar) the lens will also not work at the best possible sharpness. A tripod is obligatory with these focal lengths, a remote shutter release (or the self-timer) is highly recommended.

Take a series of exposures and take a few test shots in advance, then you can also see when the lens is sharpest and which exposure times work best – you can then use these values directly during the eclipse. With a bit of luck, the autofocus will also work; you have the best chance if you can set the focus point manually. From 200-300mm focal length, the sun is imaged large enough to be interesting.

On telescopes with a focal length of 1-2m, the sun fits best on the sensor; but for this you should start preparing early. You can find a lot of information about solar observation at https://astrosolar.com/en/information/


About the author: Alexander Kerste

Alexander Kerste

Alex is a studied biologist and works as a freelancer as an author, consultant and translator. After his studies and the publication of the Kosmos Starchart-Set in 2004, he was a regular freelancer for Astronomie Heute and the yearbook Der Himmel for the Spektrum-Verlag in Heidelberg. He is in charge of the Beginner courses on www.Astronomie.de and is a voluntary active member in the Robert-Mayer-Observatory since 1993. Since then, he has published a number of books on Celestron-Telescopes as well as Digiscoping and Astrophotography. One of his books on Astronomy with binoculars is also freely available at freebook.fernglasastronomie.de. In addition he supervises the Northern lights and star tours from Hurtigrute – these were also published in a travel guide, further articles can also be found on his blog kerste.de.


Leave a Reply