Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 – It. Was. Amazing!

Beautiful weather the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse. Temperatures in the mid-70s and a nice mostly clear sky. Just a few passing thin clouds. The weather forecast had been a bit all over the place in the days leading up to the eclipse, for a bit there it looked like we might have been clouded out during the peak. That was not the case. Excellent views through the telescopes and the inexpensive eclipse glasses for the duration of the event.

April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse in Suffolk, VA
Beginning: 2:03 PM
Maximum: 3:19 PM ~82% coverage (0.821 Magnitude)
End: 4:32 PM
Duration 2 hours, 29 minutes

I uncovered the scope around 1 PM, made sure I didn’t have any issues framing and tracking the Sun. I took a couple of test shots and once I was sure all was working well I just waited for the fun to start. I captured images using my ZWO ASI294MC Pro through my SVBONY SV503 102ED with the .8 focal reducer and a glass solar filter fixed securely on the front of the scope. My focal length was around 570 mm and I was able to easily frame full disk of the Sun. I set up capture sequences in Ekos to take 20 x 0.000032 sec exposures, then delay for 10 minutes and repeat. I kicked off the first sequence at 2:00 PM and ran them through out the event. I miscalculated and had to create a few extra sequences towards the end, but other than this process worked out great.

This is my setup and Greg’s setup during the eclipse. I was using Ekos and INDI for control and capture, Greg was using his ASIAIR.
Gear Setup for the 2024 Solar Eclipse
My Skywatcher EQ6-R mount performed awesome, staying on target over the several hours of imaging. The Sun was framed well and only moved slightly in the field of view over the entire time. If you look closely at the image above you can see the image of the Sun projected on my 3D printed solar finder 🙂

I broadcasted capturing images of the Sun live on NightSkiesNetwork.com during the eclipse and also watched several other broadcast streams. Lots of great views from different areas of the country.

This is the second image I took of the Solar Eclipse at 2:10 PM EDT, the Moon is just starting to creep it’s way between us and the Sun. There are two sunspots on the Sun’s surface which are visible in the image. One is pretty easy to see, the other is a bit smaller and more difficult to find. The Moon will cover both of these sunspots during the eclipse.
Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 2:10 PM EDT Suffolk, VA
Solar Eclipse, 2:42 PM EDT. The two sunspots are visible in this image. The one larger sunspot is just near the edge of the Moon, the other smaller one is towards the bottom of the Sun’s disc.
Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 2:42 PM EDT Suffolk, VA
Solar Eclipse, 3:14 PM EDT. This was near the maximum where about 80% of the Sun covered by the Moon.
Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 3:14 PM EDT Suffolk, VA
It was noticeably not quite as bright as it was earlier in the day. Kind of how it looks when the Sun passes behind a thin cloud on a bright summer day. Not quite as dramatic as the folks in the path of totality, but definitely noticeable.

The Moon is now moving out. This is at 3:45 PM, about 25 minutes after maximum.
Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 3:45 PM EDT Suffolk, VA
More of the surface of the Sun is being revealed. The first of the two sunspots emerged from behind the Moon shortly after this shot.

This is a few minutes before the end of the eclipse at 4:18 PM EDT. Both of the sunspots are visible again.
Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 4:18 PM EDT Suffolk, VA

From 2:00 PM through 4:38 PM I captured 20 x 0.000032 second images about every 10 minutes. Here is a timelapse I created of those images.

I also did some low tech solar viewing with some cheap solar eclipse glasses. Yep that’s me in this goofy selfie enjoying the view during peak coverage.
Viewing the Solar Eclipse with Solar Glasses
This was as much fun as capturing the eclipse through the scope.
Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 Images from 2:10 PM till 4:18 PM Suffolk, VA
Really enjoyed this. I have had the fortune of seeing a few solar eclipses over my lifetime, and even though we were not in the path of totality this was a good one. Looks like we are going to have to wait a bit for the next really good one… the predicted path of the August 12, 2045 eclipse looks like the coverage will be similar to what we saw during this one. If I am still around, I’ll definitely be looking up.

Did you get a chance to view the eclipse? Did you capture any images? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

I think I captured another eclipse many years ago… I can’t remember the year exactly. I will dig around and see if I can find the pictures I took back then through my C8 with my Nikon. I did a quick search through my archives, but was unable to locate them, I know they are there somewhere and I’ll share them if I find them. The hunt begins…

It’s galaxy season! Hoping for clear skies!

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