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Things To Bring

What do you bring for an eclipse in St. Clair? Here are some ideas:

Eclipse glasses or viewers.
A sun umbrella for shade. Or a big floppy hat.
A folding chair for sitting.
Bottled water, iced tea or other cold, but not syrupy soft drinks.
Wear light colored, loose clothes. Bring a bandanna which you can get wet and drape around your neck, or use to mop your face.
A watch or timer on your cell phone.
Comfy walking shoes.
Something to use to fan yourself.
A modest amount of money for food or “stuff.”
A sense of adventure and the willingness to go with the flow.
A big smile!*

-Jo Schaper

* Where is the camera? Well, unless you properly shield a digital camera, or a spotting scope, or have your own solar telescope set up you are already familiar with, they general advice from the professionals is “don’t.” This eclipse is so short you will miss it. Photographing the partial eclipse SHOULD NOT be done with eclipse glasses over the lens: the material is not adequate to filter the magnified infrared or UV and may trash the sensors in a digital camera or phone. You MUST NOT LOOK through the lens or at the LCD to focus during a partial eclipse.

For photographic totality: the sun and moon will both be moving, so unless you have a clock drive on a tripod the image will be blurry at most normal exposures. It is possible to photograph the total eclipse because it is the brightness of the full moon, but getting the exposure right will be difficult. One astronomer suggested if you just MUST take a picture, set your camera on movie mode, turn it on at totality, and let it run until the sun reappears, and cut out frames later. You will have to realign the image once or twice to keep it centered with much without a clock drive.

In short: unless you are already experienced at solar photography, enjoy the experience; photos taken by NASA with much better equipment will be freely available for download, and they will be better than what 99.5% of amateurs can do.

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