Visual Corona 3 - 2019 Total Solar Eclipse

The solar corona is only visible for a few brief minutes during a total eclipse of the Sun. Because the corona encompasses an enormous range of brightness (the innermost corona is over 1000 times brighter than the outer corona), it is difficult to capture an image that resembles what the eye sees.

This photo is an effort to produce an image that captures to what I saw with the naked eye during the total solar eclipse of July 2, 2019.

It is a composite of 72 separate exposures (1/1000 to 2.5 seconds) shot with an Vixen 90mm Fluorite refractor and a Nikon D850 DSLR. The images were combined and processed using Photoshop CC 2019. My PDF article "Digital Compositing Techniques for Coronal Imaging" is a bit dated (for example there is a discussion on digitizing negatives) but it still gives a detailed description of some of the digital processing techniques I used to process my 2019 eclipse images.

There is a tremendous amount of structure visible in the underlying data, but I have held back much of it to approximate what was actually seen visually and to avoid the heavily sharpened appearance that is common in HDR images.

The Moon appears darker than the sky because of the huge contrast between the Moon's disk and the very bright inner corona adjacent to the Moon. Nevertheless I've included the faint image of the Moon which was captured in my longest exposures. The illumination of the Moon comes from sunlight reflected off Earth and is known as Earthshine. A custom Curves layer was used to approximated the color to the dark blue sky.

This image is available as a Custom Print.

Additional eclipse photos can be seen at: 2019 Total Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery.

For more information on this event, see: EclipseWise 2019 Total Solar Eclipse.

Technical Details

2019 Eclipse Links

2019 Total Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery

Custom Prints of 2019 Total Solar Eclipse

EclipseWise 2019 Total Solar Eclipse

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