Total Solar Eclipse of 3 November, 1994.
Images of a Corona and Umbra to Remember.

Jeffrey R. Charles

© Copyright 1994, 1997, 1998 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.


Images of the Total Solar Eclipse of 3 November, 1994.

Contents:


Introduction:

The following images are from my 1994 eclipse expedition. I spent over two weeks in Bolivia on this, my only solo eclipse expedition to date. The total solar eclipse of November 3, 1994 was my third eclipse, but the aspects of each eclipse and the circumstances of each expedition make every eclipse expedition unique. This 1994 expedition proved to be very unique!

The 1994 eclipse was the only one I observed and photographed with a "real" telescope; my Vernonscope 94 mm f/7 refractor. In 1979, I used a 300 mm lens and a 2x teleconverter; in 1991, I observed and took pictures of clouds, even though I had a telescope with me; and in 1995, I used a 300 mm ED lens and a Dakin Barlow which was working at about 2.1x.

Compared to previous eclipse expeditions, I traveled slightly lighter for the 1994 eclipse, but compared to my later 1995 expedition, I really "porked out" on equipment! To photograph the corona, I brought my Vernonscope 94 mm f/7 apochromatic refractor, its equatorial mount, and a 350 mm f/5.6 lens. To lighten my luggage, I designed and constructed pulsed stepping motor drive for the Aus-Jena equatorial mount. The new drive runs on a 9 volt battery, so I did not have to bring my heavy 12 volt battery and an inverter. For use with the Vernonscope, I brought along my company's patented flagship astronomy product, the VersAgonal. It allowed me to observe and photograph the eclipse through the same telescope!

I really like the Vernonscope, particularly after I made modifications which included a sliding, self storing dew cap and an iris diaphragm. The Vernonscope is compact and has a two inch focuser with a sliding draw tube. The sliding draw tube allowed me to "pre set" the prime focus of the telescope prior to totality. I used the VersAgonal's built-in Dakin Barlow lens to photograph second contact and the first part totality at a focal length of 1000 mm, then I just turned the VersAgonal's control knob and flipped out the built-in lens, after which I simply racked the Vernonscope's focuser all the way in to its stop. This allowed me to photograph the outer corona at the Vernonscope's prime focal length of 640 mm. Then, I used the VersAgonal's built-in flip mirror to observe the eclipse at 20x with my 32 mm wide field eyepiece. After that, I switched to a different camera body and shot negative film. All of the corona photos (at two focal lengths with one camera and at one focal length with the other) were taken in only about a minute and a half; less than half of the duration of totality! I also took video of the corona with an SVHS-C camcorder and a home made 3x converter lens. The converter lens worked pretty well; the first two diamond ring shots below are from the video!

In addition to photographing and observing the corona, I took 360 degree panoramic photos of the umbra and some shots of the eclipse over the horizon with a 20 mm lens. I also took wide angle video of the umbra with a 0.45x converter lens. Some of the wide angle images were to be used in experiments I was conducting in order to learn more about the visible effects of the lunar umbra. Unfortunately, interference by a few influential locals had caused me lose so much sleep that I was like a zombie on eclipse day, which adversely affected my performance. In spite of this, I was able to obtain many corona photos, including those shown below. I was more or less operating on "autopilot" at the time, so I believe some of this success is attributable to repeatedly practicing my procedure. Planning and practice for eclipse photo procedures is so important that one paper at the EclipseChaser web site is devoted to the subject! The eclipse images follow. Enjoy!

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Eclipse Images, Corona:

The many aspects of the total solar eclipse of 3 November, 1994.
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
The beginning of totality from Sevaruyo, Bolivia. The left two images are from my SVHS-C video camcorder with a home made 3x converter lens. The chromosphere shot at upper right was taken with a Vernonscope 94 mm f/7 apochromatic refractor and the Dakin Barlow lens which is built into the Versacorp VersAgonal multi-function flip mirror attachment. The exposure is 1/500 second at f/11 on Kodachrome 64 film. The lower right shot was taken with the same telescope and film, but the exposure was 1 second.
Radially dodged print made from the previous 1 second exposure on Kodachrome 64 Professional film. Note the polar streamer detail that is lacking in the smaller "straight" print. The original slide was printed directly onto black and white paper, so the print was a negative. Adobe Photoshop was used to restore it to a positive. No other digital processing was performed. I prefer to print the corona in black and white because it eliminates the unrealistic colors which most color films tend to impart to dimmer parts of the corona. If desired, the gray-blue sky color that is present during most eclipses can be digitally restored to the final image. This and all other images © Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Another way of looking the corona. Here, the corona has been "unwrapped" into a linear format with the "polar coordinates" filter in Adobe Photoshop. The radial proportions of the corona are enlarged by a factor of two in order to better show streamer detail. This technique can be used to enhance image processing of the corona, after which the corona image can be converted back into its conventional circular form. The radially dodged image was used as the original. © Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Left: Three second exposure with a 350 mm f/5.6 lens on Tmax 100 film. The lower (eastern) streamer was very long, extending to more than five solar diameters on the original negative - and right out the edge of the picture! The enlargement was radially dodged. Right: Totality at the 640 mm prime focus of the Vernonscope 94 mm refractor. The top photo is 3 seconds at f/7 on Kodachrome 64 Professional film. The bottom photo is one second at f/7 on Royal Gold 100 film.
Earthshine on the moon from the previous 3 second exposure. The original slide was printed directly onto black and white paper. Very little dodging was necessary. The only digital processing was to burn in the limb area about 12 percent.

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Eclipse Images; Wide Angle Images of the Lunar Umbra:

Total Solar Eclipse over Sevaruyo, Bolivia.
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Total Solar Eclipse and Venus over Sevaruyo, Bolivia at 8:22:44 local time; 43 seconds after second contact. Exposure was 1 second at f/3.8 with a 20 mm wide angle lens on ISO 100 print film.

The Lunar Shadow Puts on a Grand Light Show.
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Local circumstances for our encounter with the lunar umbra are shown above. Also shown are geometric representations of equations used in my umbral projection altitude experiment. My experiments show that the umbral boundary is typically most visible in a clear sky at an altitude of about 22 kilometers. This is partly due to a relatively high concentration ozone, volcanic material, and other light scattering elements at that altitude in the atmosphere. As I had predicted, yellow color became visible above the northern and southern horizon well before totality began. This is due in part to the relatively low eastern elevation angle of the sun, which causes the leading edge of the approaching umbra to darken the sky ahead of its position on the ground.
The Umbra Approaches:
Left: Ana Flores points out yellow color near the horizon to local observers a full minute and 35 seconds before totality, which began at 8:22:01 local time. Right: Most of the northwestern sky is darkened by the umbra, with 38 seconds to go before totality. By this time, the leading edge of the umbra had darkened the zenith to a deep twilight blue. All images in this table are video frames from a Sony TR-7 Camcorder with a 0.45x wide angle fisheye attachment having a horizontal coverage of about 90 degrees. The frames were captured with the Snap Magic (TM) video frame grabber.
By 10 seconds before totality, the umbra had covered a mountain several kilometers to our west. It is visible as a dark area on the left side of the image. Venus was obvious by this time. Totality! Ana Flores literally jumps up and down with excitement as she sees the corona for the first time. Many observers spontaneously reacted with similar enthusiasm.
The Umbra Departs:
Left: 35 seconds into totality, the leading edge of the umbra continues toward the eastern horizon. Right: One minute, 30 seconds after the beginning of totality (and one minute, 37 seconds before the end of totality) the leading edge of the umbra is much closer to the horizon. Differing angles of the leading edge are caused by the umbral direction of travel being toward the right of the solar azimuth.
As the umbral boundary moves across the solar position at third contact (the end of totality), its rapid motion is detectable in images taken only one second apart. The left image is one second before third contact. The right one is at third contact.
Only one second after third contact, further umbral motion is detectable. By a few seconds after third contact, more of the oval shape of the umbra is within the field of view.

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360 Degree Panoramic Images of the Lunar Umbra.

The 360 degree panoramas and other wide angle images were used in experiments I conducted in order to learn more about the visible effects of the lunar umbra. In particular, I was anticipating that observations from the high altitude site would allow me to determine the altitude, or altitudes, at which the boundary of the lunar umbra is the most visibly projected on the earth's atmosphere. Hopefully, this would provide the means to predict the appearance of the umbra at future eclipses. While corona photos can be taken at any time during totality, timing and exposure settings are crucial for umbral photos if one is to take advantage of optimum conditions.

Unfortunately, interference by a few influential locals in the days prior to the eclipse caused me lose more sleep than I had in many years, so I was like a "zombie" on eclipse day. This interfered the proper execution of procedures (particularly changing the shutter speed at the right time) for taking the crucial panoramic photos. The biggest problem was being too spaced out to remember to change shutter speeds on the camera taking panoramas after a few locals had repeatedly blocked my access to it. Auto exposure could not be used for these panoramas since each picture in the entire panorama must have the same exposure if it is to be of value for the experiment.

Raw images of 360 degree Panoramas are shown below. The panoramas taken during totality and at third contact are too underexposed to show much detail, but image processing may bring out some detail. Fortunately, I took a wide angle video panorama during totality, so I can eventually register and combine the images from both sources. This will take some time, so the better panoramas may not be uploaded very soon.

360 degree panoramic images of the umbra before and after totality. Unmodified "raw images".
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
These 360 degree panoramas were taken before totality. The top one is 4 minutes, 55 seconds before totality, when the umbra only appeared to be a subtle darkening in the northwest. The second one was taken only 41 seconds before totality, when the umbra covered most of the sky toward the north and west. At this time, the sky near the zenith was deep blue and Venus had become visible near the sun's position. The cirrus cloud band cleared the sun in time for totality. In spite of the cloud, it was possible to observe the inner corona at least 25 seconds before totality began.
The top panorama was taken 30 seconds before the end of totality. The bottom one was taken 15 seconds after third contact.
These 360 degree panoramas were taken after totality. The top one was taken 44 seconds after the end of totality, while the umbra still covered most of the southeastern sky. The exposure was 1/4 second at f/4 on ISO 100 print film. The second panorama was taken one minute and 38 seconds after totality. The umbra appears to be just a subtle darkening in the southeast as it races toward other lucky eclipse chasers.

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Instrumentation

Instrumentation for the 3 November, 1994 Solar Eclipse.
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
Upper left: Home made pulsed stepping motor drive circuit for Aus-Jena German equatorial mount runs on internal batteries. The motor itself is from a Super Polaris motor drive assembly. Lower left: Equipment set up at a site near Sevaruyo well before first contact. Upper right: Vernonscope 94 mm f/7 telescope seen from the east. The dew cap was moved back in order to accommodate my solar filter, which was made for a different telescope. My video camera and home made 3x converter lens are on the Aus-Jena mount's counterweight shaft. The small control box in my hand is a remote control for my indexing rotary panoramic camera platform. Lower right: The Vernonscope as seen from the north west. Under the tripod is a VCR from PAT, a local TV station which I allowed to take a feed from my video camera.


Images of Bolivia

Images of Cochabamba and other picturesque areas in Bolivia.
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.
This set of images begins with the Latino church I attended in Pasadena, California. At the time, I was the only Anglo person in the congregation. The person leading music in the left image is the pastor, who is from Cochabamba, Bolivia. He and some other members are accomplished musicians. In the right image, some people get together for choir practice. This church was associated with the Guatemalan denomination "Elim", but became affiliated with Ministerios Llamada Final in the summer of 1992.
This large Cristo statue overlooks Cochabamba from a mountain east of town. Some local people say it is two meters taller than the famous statue in Rio. The top image is a close up of the Cristo statue. The bottom image shows the picturesque setting of Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Astronomy in Cochabamba. Top Left: A few members of Astronomia Sigma Octante, a center for astronomical research in Cochabamba, Bolivia. ASO members conduct regular observations of sunspots, variable stars, and other astronomical objects. They are much more than armchair astronomers. Bottom Left: German Morales, the director of ASO. Right: Computer simulation of 3 November, 1994 total solar eclipse, written by German Morales. The top image shows first contact. The bottom image shows an image of totality, along with local time.
When I arrived at the school Colegio Buenas Nuevas, I was literally "swarmed" by appreciative children. In the top left image, a mass of children hangs on to me as I make my way through the school. My arm is in the lower right corner of the image, where a different child was holding each finger. The bottom left image shows some younger children at the school. The top right image shows me posing with some of the children. The bottom right image is of Willma Alcocer, then the director of Colegio Buenas Nuevas. Seeing to the welfare of children there was more than just a job to her. Colegio Buenas Nuevas is the school at which some influential locals did not want me to appear for eclipse presentations, but it is the one I most enjoyed visiting. Many of the children are from relatively poor families, so most typically have to walk to school.
Evangelical Quechua church in Tarata, Bolivia. The Quechua people were very friendly and seemed contented in spite of the way they are denied equal opportunity within the local culture. It is in remote areas like this that you can see what good character in a person is really like. The top image shows a side road in Tarata. In the bottom image, one can see that we have no need for a radio in our truck, since a group to whom we gave a lift provided live music all the way back to Cochabamba!
The top image shows a Musical group performing at a rural church in Huasarancho. The bottom image shows all there was for a restroom in the area. The doorless adobe structure is less than 1 meter square and 1.5 meters high, giving a new meaning to the term "public restroom"! The cement plug in the center is removable. In spite of such impoverished conditions, many of the area's residents are at least able to have televisions. The top image shows a bridge in the rugged terrain between Cochabamba and Oruro. The road reaches an elevation of 4,800 meters. In the bottom image, a child shepherds sheep and llama a few kilometers outside the town of Caracollo, on the Bolivian altiplano.
Most images in this table and some in my other eclipse photo pages were grabbed from my video with a Quantum Leap "Snap Magic" (TM) video frame grabber, which was provided to the Staigerland 1998 live eclipse web cast, courtesy of the manufacturer. I did not get go to the 1998 eclipse, but as a member of the E-team, I provided advice to others involved in the effort.


Recommended Reading:

More of Jeffrey R. Charles' Eclipse Images

Eclipse Chaser's Journal - Jeffrey R. Charles' Eclipse Expeditions

Steps to a Successful Eclipse Expedition, by Jeffrey R. Charles

Need information about eclipses for your planetarium, motion picture, or other project? Jeffrey R. Charles performs science consulting in regard to eclipse phenomena and instrumentation. Please direct inquiries to Jeffrey R. Charles jcharles@versacorp.com or click here for more information about total solar eclipse related science and engineering consulting.


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© Copyright 1994, 1997, 1998 Jeffrey R. Charles. All Rights Reserved.

Mail to: Jeffrey R. Charles (jcharles@eclipsechaser.com )

Document Last Modified: 25 March, 1998