The next big idea for Photics.com is still being determined. But as the old saying goes, “Life is what happens while we are making other plans.” A rare astronomical event will happen on April 8, 2024. And in order to take full advantage of this event, preparation will need to start soon. There will be a total eclipse visible from much of the United States — that’s assuming it doesn’t rain. 🌦️😄
The problem — I don’t have much experience with astrophotography. On August 21, 2017, there was a partial solar eclipse in NYC. Attempts to record that event were unimpressive. Using a sheet of while paper, and a pinhole in some cardboard, the reflected light from the sun could be seen. This proved that there was a partial solar eclipse occurring, but that setup is not visually impressive. Almost even years afterwards, could something spectacular be setup?
That was a partial solar eclipse. The path of totality was much further away. But on April 8, 2024, it should be quite possible for me to see a total eclipse. Even if some traveling is needed to avoid clouds, there are lots of locations within driving distance. There’s ample opportunity to prepare too!
Resources are better too. As an example, Photics.TV didn’t exist back then. According to a recent community poll, well over two-thirds of responders said “Yes” to live coverage of the solar eclipse.
So, that means there’s an audience. Recently, I’ve been thinking about getting a telescope. This wasn’t much of a consideration while living in NYC, where the view of the night sky is not as clear. But now, it seems like a fun idea.
Yet, it goes deeper than that. This is one of those rare moments in time where one gets to see something spectacular. I’m not Albert Einstein or Arthur Eddington, so this is not about proving General Relativity. Yet, I saw something about the April 8, 2024 eclipse that was quite interesting.
In order to determine the best locations to photograph the solar eclipse, I was trying to figure out exactly where the sun would be in the sky. While doing that, I was surprised to see that the planets were lining up for a group photo. Uranus, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Saturn, and Mars. Even Pluto is not that far off, but below the horizon line. What is this — an episode of Sailor Moon? 😆
That when I realized how little I knew about this topic. So, that’s when a plan started to form. First, I’ll have to improve in astrophotography. Can I get a closeup shot of the Moon, the Sun, and some of the other planets? How about a time-lapse? How to track objects in the sky with a telescope? There’s a lot to learn, which is why it’s a good idea to start early. There’s less than a year to go.