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Frostbite Theater

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Photos and video taken on Frostbite Theater's expedition to view the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017! As a side experiment, listen to the birds while you watch the video. When to they stop chirping? When do they start again?

Announcer: Frostbite Theater presents... Cold Cuts! No baloney!

Joanna and Steve: Just science!

Joanna: Hi! I'm Joanna!

Steve: And I'm Steve!

Joanna: Other than a few early clouds and a slightly out of focus cell phone video, Frostbite Theater's expedition to view the 2017 total solar eclipse was a total success!

Steve: The technical details can be found in the video's description and, as always, if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Joanna: But, for now, we're going to fast forward through the partial phase and pick things up shortly before the start of totality.


Steve: Unfortunately, this video doesn't really convey what the eclipse was like. The luminous strands of cotton candy surrounding a pit of infinite darkness that I saw just can't be captured with a single exposure. And then, you add video compression on top of that? It really is something that needs to be seen in order to be appreciated.

Joanna: If you missed it, don't worry. While many were calling this a 'once in a lifetime event,' there will be others. You can always travel to Chile or Argentina for the 2019 eclipse or you can wait until 2024 for the next one to pass through the U.S.

Steve: And it really isn't too early to start planning for it...

Joanna: Thanks for watching! I hope that you'll join us again soon! You can tell us about your eclipse experience in the comments!

Steve: You know, I can't see a thing in these things.

Joanna: That's kind of the point...

Unfortunately, we were right in thinking that compression would do a number on the quality of the still photos. Because of this, we're making a few of the photos available for download.

The total solar eclipse was observed from Raspberry deLight Farms (43.18505517, -108.20629467) near Shoshoni, Wyoming, at an elevation of approximately 1,438 meters on August 21, 2017. The following instruments were used in the creation of this video:

- Panasonic AG-HMC150P HD video camera, used to film the 'background' video. Gain set to 'Low,' iris manually set to f/8, shutter manually set to 1/1000s and full zoom. The partial phases were shot using one neutral density filter (1/4 transmittance) in conjunction with a Baader AstroSolar film filter. Both the neutral density filter and the AstroSolar filter were removed for totality.

- Canon 70D DSLR at the prime focus of an Explore Scientific 127mm, f/7.5 refracting telescope (ES127ED), used for the images in the lower left frame. Shutter and ISO settings for each image are indicated in the video.

- Canon 70D DSLR at the prime focus of an AstroTech 65mm, f/6.5 refracting telescope (AT65EDQ), used for the images in the lower right frame. Shutter and ISO settings for each image are indicated in the video.

- An iPhone 6 was used to record the video in the lower center frame.

The Panasonic, ED127 and AT65EDQ were co-mounted on a polar aligned equatorial mount in order to track the sun throughout the eclipse.

The iPhone was mounted on a stationary tripod about 10 meters to the southwest of the primary equipment. The iPhone was pointing roughly to the southeast.

The imaging sequences of both DSRLs were controlled with Solar Eclipse Maestro.

Temperature data was obtained with a Lascar Electronics EasyLog data logger (EL-USB-TP-LCD) using a Type 2 probe set to record at a 2 second cadence. The probe was placed near the ES127ED's focuser, on the underside on the tube, out of direct sunlight.

The videos shot with the Panasonic and the ES127ED were synchronized using the WWV time signal. The iPhone 6 video was synchronized by recording the GPS time displayed by Solar Eclipse Maestro.

The still photos taken with the ES127ED and AT65EDQ are displayed at times representative of when they were taken, but are not absolutely synchronized with the video. While each 70D's clock was synchronized to GPS time with Solar Eclipse Maestro, the timing information recorded in each file's EXIF data is only accurate to the second. The beginning and ending of each exposure ramping sequence was positioned in the video according to the file's timestamp (+/- 1 second). The available time within a sequence was then evenly evenly distributed amongst the images within the sequence in order to determine the display time of each image. If an image's exposure time was 2 seconds or longer, the exposure time was used for the display time.

Other videos of the 2017 total solar eclipse:

 • 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

 • Solar Eclipse Time-lapse

 • 2017 Total Solar Eclipse - Third Contact Close-up

 • 2017 Total Solar Eclipse - Totality Only

 • 2017 Total Solar Eclipse - Complete Eclipse

 • 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Preview

Citation and linking information

For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.