Video of the August 21, 2017 Great American Total Solar Eclipse, from Lusk, Wyoming

The following video and text were posted by Bill Miller, DSES Secretary. Click the link to watch the 7 minute video. Bill traveled to Lusk, Wyoming to watch the the recent total solar eclipse. – Gary WA2JQZ

In this video of the August 21, 2017 Great American Total Solar Eclipse, shot on Main Street in Lusk, Wyoming, I used a Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR in manual focus and automatic exposure with a 250mm f/6.3 lens mounted on a non tracking tripod and a low cost 3 inch Celestron solar film filter suspended on a makeshift mount in front of the lens.  Most of the stills came in around 1/320 sec at ISO-1600 with the filter.  This worked reasonably well for the gusting wind that buffeted the filter and camera.

The first part of the video is a sequence of the partial eclipse leading up to the totality with a frame shot manually every 1.5 minutes and the camera repositioned every 6 to 8 frames to show the progression and movement of the sun and moon across the sky. The same was done for the partial phase after the totality.  The two small dots to the left of the partially eclipsed sun are not stars but dead pixels in the camera which I didn’t realize were there until now.

The camera was changed to movie mode leading into the totality phase and the background audio captures the comments and excitement, we and some of the people around us experienced.  Shortly after the “diamond ring” appeared at the onset of totality the solar filter was swung out of the way and the camera automatically adjusted movie exposure settings for direct unfiltered viewing of the totality.  During the totality, planets and stars were visible and the movie captured Mercury, (what I originally called out as Venus) just to the lower left of the eclipsed sun.

When the “diamond ring” reappeared the solar filter was swung back into place to protect the camera imager.  After a few minutes of post totality commentary from the bystanders the camera was returned to still mode and the outgoing partial eclipse sequence was again recorded in stills.  The pre and post partial eclipse still images were added to the totality movie to edit the complete video.

Lessons learned:  This technique was simple and worked reasonably well while allowing us to concentrate on experiencing the eclipse without having to worry too much about the camera, but If I could do it again with much more practice and gear I would:

  1. Use multiple cameras to capture the surrounding scene and darkness during the eclipse and a dedicated wide angle time-lapse camera for a wall framing shot.
  2. Use a time-lapse Intervalometer to precisely time the partial eclipse still shot sequence and also help stabilize the camera without touching it.
  3. Mount the camera on a tracking telescope mount set up for solar tracking so the sun stays centered in the frame for the entire 3 hour event.
  4. Use a much sturdier tripod such as that of my telescope and seek a sheltered location out of the wind on the side of a building to improve camera stability and comfort for the 3 hour event.
  5. Use a better solar filter or find a way to shield out ambient light leakage to the camera to reduce the aura or glare captured around the partial eclipsed sun, though some of this aura may have been due to smoke in the atmosphere from western wildfires.

I hope you enjoy this little 7 minute movie. Best Regards,

Bill Miller,  DSES Secretary

Video download:

Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES) SuperSID station measures the August 20, 2017 Solar Eclipse!

Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES) SuperSID station measures the August 20, 2017 Solar Eclipse!

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DSES President Dr. Richard Russel has been measuring signal strengths 0f stations in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band for the past year, looking for changes in ionospheric propagation due to solar flares. He uses a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) monitor small radio telescope.  His SID detector is located in Colorado Springs, CO. The measurements are sensitive to the changes in radio propagation at sunrise and sunset.

With his baseline of historical data at sunrise and sunset, he then predicted what could be expected during the August 20, 2017 solar eclipse. He presented his prediction work at the 2017 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Annual Conference at NRAO Greenbank, WV on July 25, 2017. His paper was titled, “Ionospheric Reflection Variation During Sunrise and Sunset and Predictions for the 2017 Total Eclipse”.

During the eclipse he made measurements, and found the results matched closely with his predictions. The link presents a summary of his work. Plus it has YouTube links to this and another of his talks at the SARA conference. The second talk is titled, The Use of Monte-Carlo Analysis to Evaluate Radio Astronomy Source Detection”.

Also see this Daily Mail article, NASA Scientists to Study the Ionosphere During the Eclipse (August 10, 2017).

Photos from our site work trip July 23, 2017

These are photos taken during our work trip the Plishner radio telescope site on Sunday July 23, 2017. – Gary WA2JQZ






Ray Uberecken AA0L and Steve Plock KL7IZW reinstalled Ray’s 3-band antenna feed at the focus of the 60-foot dish. Bill Miller KC0FHN and Gary Agranat WA2JQZ  helped from the ground.




An all-day project today was the rebuilding of the “Radio Jove” phased dipole antenna. The first version had been constructed with PVC pipe masts, but that was collapsing. Dave Molter AD0QD redesigned a new antenna support system, using surplus stainless steel pipes, and adding springs and pulleys. Last autumn the bases for the poles had been already set with concrete. Today most of the team helped rebuild the antenna at one time or another. The placement of the structural support ropes was carefully rethought. Floyd Glick WD0CUJ fastened all the knots.  Here is the result.  This antenna system is used to monitor radio pulses emitted from Jupiter and its moon Io at 20 MHz.  These pulses are among the strongest astronomical signals observable.


Ed Corn KC0TBE contributed with much facilities work. Here he is installing a small solar panel to charge the 12 volt batteries at the generator.  With him is Floyd Glick WD0CUJ.


Ed Johnson AD5MQ walked around the 60 foot antenna with a UHF signal source.
Inside the communications trailer, Ray Uberecken AA0L monitored how the signal was received.
Ed Johnson AD5MQ
Ed Johnson AD5MQ
Bill Miller KC0FHN constructed a ventilation fan to the side of the communications trailer. The fan is self-powered by a solar electric panel. Its purpose is to help exhaust the hot air that builds up in the trailer during the summer season. It turns on automatically whenever the sun is out. Bill first cut a wood mounting frame to place on a window opening, to mount the fan.
Bill KC0FHN installing the fan at the side of the trailer.
Bill KC0FHN installing the fan at the side of the trailer.
Ed KC0TBE meanwhile installed a new air filter for the trailer, to help the air flow for Bill’s vent fan.
Inside view of the new trailer ventilator fan.
The new small solar panel on the roof is to power the ventilator fan.
The ventilator fan, installed by the end of the day.


The propane fuel tank for our generator.
Our generator shack.