Eclipse 2017



I drove 170 miles to Columbia, Missouri, the day before the eclipse. This community was right along the narrow path of totality. On the morning of the eclipse I set up my telescope and camera, including my home-made solar filter that I fashioned with Baader film and cardboard, on a church parking lot that proved to be an excellent location. My equipment was heavy for a camera tripod, which provided an unstable platform. And, without an equatorial mount, I had to find the eclipsing Sun and periodically re-center manually in the camera's field of view.
But my biggest challenge was the weather. At 11 AM, some 45 minutes before the partial eclipse began, the sky was 90-95% cloud covered. Surprisingly, I was able to take several images of the eclipse clearly showing the Moon encroaching on the disk of the Sun. Totality began at 1:12 PM and lasted for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Having never seen a total solar eclipse I did not know what to expect. I was surprised at how suddenly the sky darkened when totality began. It was almost instantaneous, comparable to turning out the lights in an illuminated room. The sky was not completely dark as I had expected, but more like the darkening sky several minutes after sunset. The temperature felt a little cooler, and nocturnal insects began chirping. I quickly removed my solar filter, and for 2 minutes took several unfiltered images of the eclipsed Sun, the corona, and the photosphere. I bracketed my images, but the best appeared to be at 1/800 second and ISO 400. I was stunned at the first images of the corona, given the cloud layer overhead. While the images undoubtedly would have been better under a clear sky, I was pleased with the results.

Image Name:

Eclipse 2017

Date Taken:

August 21, 2017

Location Taken:

Columbia, Missouri USA

Conditions of Location:

100% cloud covered with clouds of varying thickness

Equipment Used:

Takahashi 90mm apochromatic refractor, Canon 5d DSLR, camera tripod

Processing Used:

one 1/800, ISO 400, image, unguided

Distance from Location:


Other Link:


  • August 23, 2017

    Hi Richard! It’s Lori Selby. You gave me your card as you and your wife were leaving the hotel. I asked you if you thought it would be the most exciting time you have used your camera and telescope. You said you thought it would be. Hope it was all you anticipated. We had a great experience and thought it was worth the venture!
    Your photo is spectacular!


  • August 23, 2017

    Thanks for letting us join you. We enjoyed the experience and the company. The diamond ring and Baily’s Beads were worth the entire trip. I’m looking forward to 2024.

  • August 24, 2017

    This is amazing with 100% cloud cover. How much were you able to see with your naked eye? We saw it in Redmond OR–very very much worth the trip. The glory of God’s creation. We were both crying.

    • August 25, 2017

      The corona during totality was clearly visible, but not as sharp as it would have been under clear skies. The cloud cover was variable in thickness, and during totality we hit a thin layer.

  • August 24, 2017

    I watched this spectacular event from Fossil, Oregon. Totality was a brilliant. It’s fun to know we were all looking up at approximately the same time, sharing the moment together with friends, family, and a big swath of humanity. Thanks for the image Rich. You always gift us with such great photos!

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