A total solar eclipse is arguably the most stunning celestial event a stargazer will witness in his lifetime. Today’s total solar eclipse is the first since 2017’s Great American Eclipse. Those lucky enough to live in Chile and Argentina are enjoying the best views of the eclipse. And select areas of South America are also witnessing a partial solar eclipse.
Those not based in the Pacific or in South America need not worry, as there are plenty of options for live-streaming the solar eclipse.
Timeanddate.com’s free live stream of today’s total solar eclipse is supplying stunning live footage of the event, along with expert commentary.
The total eclipse begins in Chile at 9.38pm BST (4.38pm ET) and 9.44pm BST (4.44pm ET), when it ends in Argentina.
Stargazers can begin watching an hour before to see the partial phases of the eclipse.
The (paid-for) astronomy education website Slooh is meanwhile providing a webcast of the eclipse starting at 8.15pm BST (3.15pm ET).
The best place to view the eclipse is arguably the La Silla Observatory, perched high on a mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
There, away from light pollution and relatively safe from the threat of cloud cover, the total eclipse begins at 3.11pm local time (8.11pm BST), a little more than an hour before sunset.
Astronomy fans can follow the eclipse action via the European Southern Observatory, which runs La Silla, will live-stream the event starting at 3.15pm (8.15pm BST).
Despite an eclipse being an incredible experience, the event races by in mere minutes.
During totality, viewers are bathed in the solar corona’s eerie glow.
While first-timers are encouraged to view a total solar eclipse through protective eclipse glasses, experienced eclipse-chasers consider a camera essential to capture the event.
US astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted: ”Solar Eclipses are one of Nature’s great spectacles:
“The Sun is 400x wider than the Moon and 400x farther away, making them the same size on the sky – endowing Earth with the most badass eclipses in the solar system.”
How to photograph a solar eclipse:
As these images show, solar eclipses are the perfect opportunity to showcase your shooting skills and your camera’s capabilities.
The most important thing to remember is that, whereas lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye, solar eclipses are not.
Always take the necessary precautions to keep from harming your eyesight.
Photographers also need to use a “solar filter” to keep from harming their camera’s imaging sensor as well as for correct exposure.
When viewing or photographing the partial phases of a solar eclipse or the maximum phase of an annular eclipse, you must use a solar filter.
Even if 99 percent of the Sun is covered by the Moon, the remaining one percent crescent is dangerous to view with the naked eye and can cause serious eye damage or blindness.
The longer the focal length of the lens, the larger the images of the Sun you will be able to make.
With a DSLR, you can also combine a super telephoto lens with a teleconverter to increase the focal length.
How large you want the Sun to be in the frame will determine what focal length lens to use.
Those using a DSLR camera with a full frame sensor should choose a focal length of 2000mm or less.
But those wishing to capture the Sun’s corona during the phase of totality should choose a focal length that’s shorter still—no more than 1400mm for a full frame sensor camera.
Place your camera on a sturdy tripod, and manually focus the camera, setting it to infinity.