The Partial Solar Eclipse of June 10, 2002

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This photograph shows the entire progression of the June 10 partial solar eclipse, as it was seen in the western sky from Phoenix, Arizona. This multiple exposure (not a composite) was taken completely in the camera on a single frame of film; the camera was firmly held on a fixed tripod the entire time. Exposures of the sun were taken with a solar filter every 10 minutes for 2 1/2 hours. This shows the sun progressing from uneclipsed, through maximum eclipse (which was 72% in Phoenix), then back to uneclipsed just before it set. Then a final single exposure without the filter was taken 40 minutes after sunset to add the twilight sky and the planets Venus (upper, between the 5th and 6th sun image) and Jupiter (lower, between the 8th and 9th sun image).

What can we learn from a multiple-exposure photo such as this? For one thing, we can dramatically visualize the moon slipping past the sun. We can also see that the sun and the planets lie on the same line in the sky, called the ecliptic. Since the ecliptic lies north of the celestial equator this time of year, the sun traces out a shallow curve as the earth turns -- an arc centered on the north celestial pole.

This photograph appeared on NASA/USRA's Earth Science Picture of the Day site on June 19, 2002.

Date: June 10, 2002
Time: 4:59 to 8:17 p.m. MST
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100 slide
Focal Length: 50mm
Exposure: f/16 with solar filter, 1/4 to 1 1/2 seconds every 10 minutes between 4:59 and 7:29 p.m. f/4 with no filter, 4 seconds at 8:17 p.m.
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000 (sky background retouched to remove filter imperfections).

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Revised: September 17, 2009
Copyright © 2002 Joe Orman
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