This Sunday, May 20th, there will be an annular solar eclipse, visible from parts of Asia and the western United States. I wrote a detailed post about the eclipse last month, which includes some great links to maps, but I forgot to list some tools to help you scout out a location to photograph this rare event. So, if you’re a procrastinator like me and still haven’t planned out your shot, here are some helpful tools:
#1 – Photographer’s Ephemeris
The Photographer’s Ephemeris is an essential tool for any landscape photographer, because it helps show you where the Sun and moon will rise or set, and overlays that on top of a Google map. If you’d like to try and photograph the eclipse as part of a landscape, then this software can help show you where the Sun and moon will be in relation to a particular landscape feature (such as a mountain or lake). There’s a free desktop version, and an inexpensive iPhone/iPad/Android version as well.
#2 – Stellarium
Stellarium is a free tool for visualizing the positions of stars and planets for a specific time and location. So, you can use this software to see what the eclipse will look like at a specific time and see how high in the sky the Sun/moon will be.
#3 – Weather Underground
In order to photograph the eclipse, you’ll need some clear skies, so it’s important to rely on some good weather forecasts. I’ve been using Weather Underground for a few years now, and they seem to be pretty reliable. They also have a great tool that shows cloud cover on top of a Google map.
What did I miss?
Is there another tool that you’ve been using to help prepare for the annular eclipse this weekend? If so, please tell us about it by leaving a comment below! Thanks 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.