Alex’s Eclipse

I haven’t nearly finished with the Eclipse yet, just in case you got to the end of my last post with the undeniable desire to read more! Today, I present to you our first student post from Alex Claney of McGuire College, Shepparton, whom I have mentioned a couple of times in the last few days. I have invited Alex to tell us about the photos he took on the day of the Eclipse. You can also see a photo of him using the telescope in the Shepparton News. Thanks Alex for sharing your images and growing expertise. We look forward to seeing more of your photos in the future.

The photo I took of the partial solar eclipse on the 14th November this year was a great experience for me because it was only the second time I used the Meade LX200-ACF-12″ telescope to take photos with the school’s Nikon D3000 camera. The first time I used it was only the night before when there was a small group of teachers, students and parents who came to the school to look at the night sky using the new telescope and taking photos of the night sky.

Alex Eclipse A

Eclipse taken with the Nikon D3000 connected to 12″ Meade LX200 telescope.

We were able to take photos because we had a special attachment that made the camera’s lens turn into the entire telescope.  It is because of this that when I took the photo it had no aperture.  Since we had used the camera the night before I had to change the ISO (the sensitivity to light) from 1600 to only 800, this way the photo wouldn’t be too bright.  I also made sure the shutter speed wasn’t too slow so I put it on 1/200th of a second.  I was able to make the shutter go at this speed and not any faster because we had a solar filter on the telescope so it was safe for human eyes to look at the sun without any consequences.

When I took the photo it wasn’t the best so I altered it in Photoshop. In Photoshop the first thing I did was to change the dark parts of the photo and make it even darker. I did this by using the burn tool and burning it so it will make the grey black, after that I changed the levels of the photo just to make the sun clearer.

Alex Eclipse B

A later image of the Eclipse.

Taking this photo was a great experience for me because I have done photography at McGuire College for 3 years and the opportunity to take a photo of the solar eclipse at school using a telescope was a great opportunity for me and I will remember it for the rest of my life.  I’m inspired to try some other astrophotography and would love to explore the use of shadow on the moon as an interest.

By Alex Claney  

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