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Timelapse – 74% Eclipse of the heart!!!

by admin ¦ March 27th, 2015 ¦ 1 Comment

Yes I did just sing to myself the title of this post. So sue me!

Recently in the British isles and northern Europe we where treated with a Solar Eclipse!  If you lived in the Faroe island you where treated to a Total Eclipse! If you were not so lucky like me you would only get a partial Eclipse. In Berlin Germany we got 74%. Still it was worth seeing and also attempting a little time-lapse shenanigans with the Raspberry Pi and the Camera board.

But first I gotta let you know. I knew nothing about the Eclipse until the day before. It totally skipped my radar and I did not see it coming so planning had to be quick. This is no tutorial  but rather my thoughts on what I did. What I did right and wrong and how I could do better if there happened to be a next time.

If you want a tutorial on time lapse I have one here.

One thing that was told to everyone in range for the eclipse was to wear protection. Either pin hole shoe box sun reflector or one of those fancy glasses for looking at the Sun. (NOT sunglasses… sunglasses bad! It wont protect your eyes!)

WP_20150326_004I heard that it was possible to kinda use your camera to selfy the sun but honestly that was stupid. The light would blow out the photo and you would see nothing… Really nothing!

But I still wanted to make a time-lapse and I knew that without protection I could damage the sensor on the camera. I needed to reduce the light hitting the camera.

My friend Jason (@boeeerb) did not use a filter of any kind  and burned into the sensor.


If you see green its bad!

He put some filter on but you can see when the clouds passed that the sensor was already gone.

So I need protection but unfortunately I did not have one of those super cool solar glass tin foil thingwybobs.

I decided to use sunglasses. 4 glass pieces to be precise and I would like to apologize to Ragworm for abusing their swag for this project!

WP_20150326_003Ok its not the best idea and I was really risking the same burn as Jason. But I hoped that the 4 layers of glass would just be enough.

In true Blue Peter style I made this:WP_20150320_002Turns out it was enough to save the camera but no where near enough light block to get a clear shot of the sun or the eclipse!sun00595

As you can see from the still image the sun’s glare was to much to capture the details but you can make out the Eclipse from the filtered reflections thought the glass. I am not totally sure that it is the reflection between the glasses. It could also be the curve of the glass in a combination. Regardless it was a pleasant surprise to be able to make out the Eclipse!

So here is my video of the time-lapse I took using the Raspberry Pi2 Model B (any model of pi would have been ok though) and the Camera board (with filter)

There has been some debate after the event that maybe I could have used the infrared Camera (NoIR)? I am not sure if that would be better so I will run a little experiment. Next clear day I will photograph the sun using the solar glasses with both the Infrared Camera and normal Camera.

Expect an update when we have better weather in Berlin 😉

Finally a special thanks to the Raspberry Pi guys for posting my video as part of their blog post!

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