Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Eclipse Movie!

I had the Canon T2i / 200mm EF-L (with Baader Filter on the lens cap) ticking off an image every minute during the annular eclipse this last May 20.  The camera had 140 images on it by the time the sun set behind the eaves of the house.  I focused as well as I could by hand on sunspots but they were pretty tiny at this image scale.

When I had a chance to look at the images I realized I was in for the same spot of trouble I was in for the lunar eclipse movie.   Each time the scope was re-centered the image would obviously shift in the image frame.  This means they all required alignment.  I still don't know of any better way to do this than by hand ... there are no stars in the field to take advantage of normal image registration software.  

So each frame was lovingly nudged into alignment by hand (in PS4).  All 140 of them.  Then cropped in Lightroom, exported as jpgs, and finally sequenced into a movie with Quicktime 7.

It looks a bit nicer if you view it at youtube so you might want to click the link.  At the very end you can see the sun setting behind a tree and finally the edge of the roof cutting it off for a premature end.

I chose to run the movie at 10 frames per second so the motion seems smooth.  The whole clip is only about 14 seconds!  Almost 2.5hrs worth!  And of course much more than that to align all those frames! Ah well ...  I've done worse for less.

The Baader filter gives a neutral white light image.  I noticed many of the images and movies out there are colorized - on purpose or due to the type of filter used.  They are rather more dramatic but I chose to keep any artificial flavorings out of the mix.

It was a good dry run for the Venus Transit on June 5.  I learned I really don't have enough image scale at 200mm and if I don't use the refractor I'll have to get a tele-extender.  Experiments underway!

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