BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature: Specials: Total Eclipse  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Total Eclipse Thursday, 16 September, 1999, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Eclipse provides unique solar image
A unique image of nature's greatest spectacle
A unique image of nature's greatest spectacle
By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse

For the millions who saw it, August's total solar eclipse was an unforgettable experience that cannot be adequately captured in words or on film.

Special report
Special report
11 August
Wallpaper
Media
Only during a total eclipse can the Sun's faint outer atmosphere called the corona be seen. During totality, prominences and streamers can be seen in this thin gas which is at a temperature of many millions of degrees.

Now, one of the world's leading experts on eclipses has tried to capture on film what the eye can see of the corona during the fleeting moments of totality.

"The solar corona exhibits a huge range in brightness which cannot be captured in any single photographic exposure," Dr Fred Espenak of NASA told BBC News Online.

Composite image

Short exposures show the bright inner corona and prominences, while long exposures reveal faint details in equatorial streamers and polar brushes.

"Fortunately, the computer can be used to combine a series of images taken at different exposures into a single composite image which more closely resembles the corona's appearance as seen by the human eye," said Dr Espenak.

He photographed August's total solar eclipse from Lake Hazar in Turkey. After processing his negatives and scanning them into a computer, he made a composite image of the corona using 22 separate exposures.

The image comes much closer than conventional photography does to showing how the corona actually appears to the eye.

"Of course," adds Dr Espenak, "nothing can replace the experience of seeing a total eclipse for yourself!"

Image Copyright Fred Espenak

See also:

24 Aug 99 | Total Eclipse
24 Aug 99 | Total Eclipse
24 Aug 99 | Total Eclipse
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Total Eclipse stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Total Eclipse stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes