Solar Eclipse – Post Processing

With the eclipse behind us, and all the gear put away it’s time to transfer and process the images to create something memorable.  I decided to make a mosaic with some of the photos of the eclipse, as well as the visible sun spots. Click on the image below for a high-resolution version.

August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse

The weather cooperated and I had the right gear to get some decent photos. Before the start of the eclipse, the sun presented two observable active sun spot regions: 2671 and 2672. This helped in achieving a proper focus and gave something to observe prior to the start of the eclipse.

Sunspot Region 2671 (right) and 2672 (left)

Sunspot Region 2671 (right) and 2672 (left)

As I had installed and aligned my Vixen equatorial mount the night before, once I had proper focus with the camera, it was child’s play to start an automatic sequence of images every 60 seconds. Hence for the entire solar eclipse, it was hands-off and automated. I could simply glance once in a while at the screen or grab one of the hand-held solar viewers to look up.

58% Cover from the Montreal, Canada Location.

58% Cover from the Montreal, Canada Location.

While the effect was nowhere near that of those in the path of totality, the light level and heat did drop at the peak of the eclipse. The brightness was lower, not like when there are high altitude clouds as the shadows were still sharp and well-defined. And the sun’s rays did feel cooler, a welcomed relief from standing under the sun for the last hour.

In the end, it was a fun experience, especially with the kids. And with over 150 images taken I decided to compile them into two formats. A time-lapse video and a mosaic as seen above.

The video was actually the quickest thing done. With Microsoft Movie Maker, it takes the Canon CR2 RAW files directly and stitches them together into a video. It actually took me longer to find a suitable soundtrack to the clip.

With that experience under my belt, I’m looking forward to April 8th 2024 total solar eclipse that will pass close to home.

Telescope: Skywatcher 80ED with Thousand Oaks R-G solar film
Camera: Canon Rebel XTi (450D)
Setting: 1/1000s at ISO 100

Time Lapse Video of Lunar Eclipse


Stitched together the 330 photos of the September 27th Lunar Eclipse into a video.

A few things to note.  The Moon “jumps” a few times in the video, and I now realize that it’s due to my presence on the wooden deck is sufficient to cause the telescope to shift ever slightly.  Also I didn’t really take time for proper polar alignment, I was a good 5deg off and had to re-align during the total eclipse because the tracking was not perfect.  And last, some cloud cover rolled in so I wasn’t able to capture the tail end of the eclipse.

Nevertheless, still much better than the few frames I captured back in 2008.

For the curious of the camera setting.  The start with the full moon is taken at ISO 200 1/320sec and then increased up to 3.2sec exposures at ISO 400 during the eclipse.

Time-lapse Video with Microsoft Movie Maker

Creating a time-lapse video out of your individual photos is a simple matter with Microsoft Movie Maker.  And the cool thing is that it will work with Canon RAW .CR2 format files, so no need to convert them to JPG ahead of time.

The following steps are performed with Windows8.

Step 1 – Select the sequence of images in Microsoft Photo Gallery

timelapse01Step 2 – Under Create select Movie.  This will automatically launch Microsoft Movie Maker with the individual photos loaded in a new Movie Maker Project.


New Movie Maker Project createdtimelapse03

Step 3 – Under Edit Video Tools, change the duration between frames to a value less than 1.0- example 0.20.

timelapse04Step 4 – Save your movie in the format and resolution you wish.  Voila!  And why not add a title, caption and a soundtrack to go the extra mile.

Therefore set your camera on a tripod and start taking some pictures of the night sky.

August 13th Celestial Pole Time Lapse


Couldn’t put all those frames to waste, so I processed and assembled them into a time-lapse video showing the Earth’s rotation and the various layers of clouds flying by.

The video was created with Microsoft MovieMaker, a tool that all Win7 and Win8 users have by default.  So it’s FREE!  Yay!

These were processed in IRIS and saved as BMP, but MovieMaker will also create videos with Canon CR2 RAW Files directly.  Therefore dump all your frame and you can generate an instant video without any processing.  By default it sets 7.0sec delay between images.  Simply select all images and change the value to 0.100 or whatever frame rate you wish.  And then export your video.