Friday, July 5, 2019

Vicarious 2019 Eclipse Image Roundup

It wasn't feasible for me to travel to the 2019 total solar eclipse in South America, but I've really enjoyed looking at the images and videos that have been posted so far. There's been some really beautiful work posted to the web, even in these first few days after the eclipse. I wanted to make a blog post to collect my favorite links from around the internet. I may update this post over time, as new work gets posted to the web.

Let's kick things off with Vincent Bouchama's beautiful sequence, showing the eclipse against the backdrop of the snow-dusted Andes:

Vincent Bouchama did a great job capturing the full eclipse sequence, the corona, and the Moon's umbral shadow cone.
 Vincent has posted his image on Astrobin and on Flickr. I think am following the CC license (from the Astrobin image) correctly, but if not, I'm happy to take down this (or any) image in this post and just replace it with a link to the author's original posted location.

It sure would have been nice to go to the 2019 eclipse, but it didn't quite work out for me. During the 3rd-contact diamond ring in 2017, I yelled "Patagonia, here we come!", as a way of trying to fend off the "Totality Has Ended Blues" that descend upon all eclipse chasers. Mostly, that shout was the expression of a dream, a hope, a wish.

In the time since the 2017 eclipse, I decided that trying to go to both of the South American eclipses wouldn't be feasible, but I did end up booking a spot on a December 2020 eclipse trip. I suspect that a lot of "2017 first-timers" like me did the same math, namely: Going to both didn't seem feasible, so which one to go to? 2019 seemed like the bigger risk, being in the winter, and with the Sun low on the horizon, making clouds potentially harder to deal with. I think there are a lot of us who have made plans for 2020, having chosen that particular eclipse as the one to aim for.

But it's so wonderful to see what marvelous luck was had by nearly everyone who went to Chile and Argentina for the 2019 eclipse! What a fabulous sky they had, and what a beautiful eclipse! They gambled and won, big time. 😄 Truly heartening to see how well it seems to have worked out for nearly everyone, and a lot of people got some wonderful images of the eclipsed Sun hanging above a beautiful landscape (or seascape, for the people in places like La Serena).

Let's get to some more links... Oh, one thing to note: Most of these links will be to webpages that show the images and some details about them. In nearly all cases, once you get to the page in question, you'll be able to click through to a high-res version of the image.'s image gallery

A good `one-stop shopping' site is the gallery of eclipse images at There are a lot of nice images posted there, including some real `gems'. The ones that stand out most to me so far are:

Thierry Legault's beautiful image of the eclipse above the Andes, with the corona reflected in Lake Cuesta Del Viento. Lovely! I had the chance to meet M. Legault briefly at one of the Advanced Imaging Conferences in California several years ago, and he's a really nice guy. I'm so glad he was able to get such a nice result.

Sebastian Voltmer's image of the eclipse from ESO's La Silla observatory. Lovely view of second contact and the shadowed Andean landscape. He also did a nice job of bringing out the edge of the umbra as seen in the sky. This is nice because it illustrates how, right at the moment of second contact, the edge of the umbra reaches the observer.

Petr Horalek's image, also from La Silla. Another beautiful view of the corona, the 2nd-contact diamond ring, the shadowed landscape, and the glowing "orange air" outside the umbra. On the webpage that hosts the image, commenter Bernd Berhard said "Best capture Ive seen yet of the umbras oval shape. This is seriously amazing." I wholeheartedly agree. An amazing image of the umbra itself, in addition to the corona and the landscape below. A real masterwork.

Bill Reyna has a dramatic panorama of the eclipse from one of the eclipse flights off the coast of Chile. The umbra can be seen dramatically, cast on the marine-layer clouds below. It looks like there was still some very thin, very high cirrus cloud above the plane, but it doesn't seem to have interfered with these folks' view of the eclipse. To me, viewing this image, it adds to the sense of an immense dark "lid" atop the observer, which I remember from 2017.

I like Bill Gardner's image of the eclipsed Sun above the dry hills near La Serena, Chile, with a cactus in the foreground. That webpage will also link you to Bill's very nice images of the chromosphere, prominences, and Baily's beads. Lovely! The `cactus' image allows me to imagine what it would be like to see totality near sunset from a mountain range in the California desert. Ah, it is to dream!

Janne Pyykko has a wonderful image of the eclipsed Sun hanging just barely above the mountains that flank Pisco Elqui village in Chile. He has also posted another shot, showing the corona still visible 😮 4 minutes after the end of totality... thanks to the bright crescent of photosphere being hidden by a mountain. Very very cool! It is a lot like the effect David Makepeace captured on video in Indonesia in 2016. (This happens at about the 14:00 point in his video "Still Hooked".)

(Hmm... that really makes me wonder... maybe it's worth trying to "engineer" that type of circumstance in Spain's Picos de Europa in 2026...)

ESO's image gallery

In these first few days after the eclipse, the European Southern Observatory, which hosted an eclipse-observing event at La Silla, has posted some very nice images.

Let's start with the object of everyone's interest - the corona! What did this eclipse's corona look like? the 2017 eclipse had a distinctive, elongated, V-shaped set of streamers. In the hours after the 2019 eclipse, I couldn't wait to see what the 2019 corona looked like...

ESO Images by Petr Horalek

Petr Horalek has a very nice corona image, complete with some chromosphere, prominences, and Baily's beads. It looks like the corona was a "not-quite-symmetrical butterfly", with beautiful "brushes" at the magnetic poles.

ESO also hosts his eclipse sequence image, and a version of his "shape of the umbra" 2nd-contact image. (The eclipse sequence was the APOD for July 5.) Make sure to click through for the hi-res versions of those images, and look for Orion to the left of the eclipsed Sun! (Tip of the broad-brimmed Sun hat to Peter Rosen, who pointed this out in a comment about this image on the Spaceweather gallery.)

ESO Images by Mahdi Zamani

Mahdi Zamani has a beautiful panorama from La Silla during totality. I like the way you can see people observing the eclipse at the right side of the pano. It makes me fantasize about what it would be like to see totality from Lick Observatory here in California. I would imagine that's at least a few centuries away, though... le sigh...

He's also got a very nice image that appears to be the moment of 3rd contact. There's something about this image that reminds me quite strongly of what totality looks like with the unaided eye. Like with Nicolas Lefaudeux's naked-eye image, I think this is a good image to show someone and say "this is what it's like if you're just looking at it with your unaided eyes".

The CESAR team captured a nice image of some prominences. Even though the Sun was low in the sky, the seeing was good enough for them to get some nice detail in these "proms".

ESO Videos by R. Lucchesi and A. Santerne

My favorite video from the eclipse so far is this video of 2nd contact captured by R. Lucchesi. Like Mahdi Zamani's 3rd-contact image, this video really reminds me of what the beginning of totality looks like. This video is only 23 seconds long, and it "only" covers 2nd contact, but I think it's a very vivid, realistic, dramatic representation of the beginning of totality. The video's title says "time lapse", but it looks very close to real-time to me.

I would really love it if this was just a short clip from a longer video! If it is, and if the rest of the footage could be released in a high-res format, that would be really great. The focus and sharpness in this video are very crisp, the colors are dramatic and saturated, and it really looks like a total eclipse of the Sun. One of the best works I've seen yet, in these first days after the eclipse. I suspect it'll really stand the test of time, as more images and videos emerge on the web.

ESO has another 4-minute, real-time video of totality from La Silla. It's a nice video, and well worth watching, but it doesn't quite have the sharpness that makes R. Lucchesi's video "pop" so dramatically. Still well worth a look, though, and this one has the sounds of the cheering observers.

Other Images and Videos from Around the Web

Outside of the Spaceweather and ESO sites, I think my favorite image so far is from a gallery on the website of The Atlantic magazine. It shows observers watching the eclipse from El Molle, Chile. It, too, strikes me as having that quality of "this is what it looks like if you're there".

Naturally, we shouldn't forget Yuri Beletsky's APOD from Las Campanas observatory. Beautiful!

Matt Robinson's drone hyperlapse video over the Elqui Valley is remarkable!

Amateur radio operators continue to be able to command the Chinese Longjiang-2 satellite to take pictures and send them to Earth, and it was able to photograph the Moon's shadow on the Earth, with the lunar limb in the foreground. You've got a friend in the Baily's bead, indeed! 😉