Composite Photograph of the
Total Solar Eclipse of 1998
The Solar Corona of 1998 Feb 26
This photo is a composite from 20 separate images shot with two telescopes.
They have been processed and combined in Adobe Photoshop
to closely resemble the naked eye appearance of the solar corona.
The image was featured in Sky & Telescope's Gallery section (June 1998, page 126).
Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 Feb 26 (Oranjestad, Aruba)
Photo (c)1998 by Fred Espenak
The Sun's atmosphere exhibits a huge range in brightness that cannot be captured in any single photograph. Short exposures highlight the bright inner corona and rose-colored chromosphere and prominences but fail to record the outer corona. Long exposures wash out the inner corona but reveal faint details far above the limb in equatorial streamers and polar brushes. To render the corona approximately as it appears to the human eye, images made with different exposure times must be combined into a single composite view. This is most easily done with a computer.
NASA astronomer Fred Espenak made this digital composite image of the total solar eclipse of February 26, 1998, using 20 different exposures made with two telescopes. From his observing site in Oranjestad, Aruba, he used an Astro-Physics 105EDT 105 mm apochromatic refractor working at f/12 and Kodak Elite II 100 film to capture the inner corona. He used a Celestron 80 mm f/8 fluorite refractor and Kodak Royal Gold 100 film to capture the middle and outer corona.
After scanning his original slides and negatives to produce high-resolution digital images, he processed the images using a Power Macintosh 8500 computer and Adobe Photoshop software. First he duplicated each image and applied a radial blur filter to the copy. Next he subtracted each filtered image from its original, unfiltered one. This produced 20 low-contrast "subtraction images" revealing fine details in the corona. Each original image was then multiplied by its corresponding subtraction image to emphasize the coronal detail more strikingly.
Espenak then adjusted the images from the two telescopes to have the same image scale and added them together one by one into a single composite image that reveals a wealth of structure over a wide range of brightnesses, from the Sun's limb out to several solar radii. Finally, he adjusted the sky background to approximate the dark blue sky he saw during totality.
"I think I've pulled about as much detail as possible from my negatives," says Espenak, "and I'm quite happy with the result." The image was featured in Sky & Telescope's Gallery section (June 1998, page 126).
More recently, Espenak used the same digital techniques to produce a composite image of the Total Solar Eclipse of 1999 August 11. For more information, see 1999 Eclipse Composite Photo
Deluxe enlargements of this striking image of the 1998 eclipse are now available for sale. The original 10.7 Megapixel digital file has a resolution permitting enlargements of 16" x 20" at 200 dpi. This high resolution file was output to a master 4 x 5 inch color negative. The custom color lab operated by Tony and Daphne Hallas makes the enlargements on Kodak Ultra III paper.The Hallas' are world famous astrophotographers and masters at printing astronomical photographs. They use Kodak Ultra III paper because it has incredible sharpness, brilliance, contrast and color. Under normal viewing conditions, it is rated for several decades with no perceptual fading.
Unlike the sample image above, these custom prints DO NOT have any text or copyright labels printed on them. This allows you to enjoy the full beauty of the corona without any distractions.
Print sizes and prices:
|11" x 14"||$30 USD||In Stock|
|16" x 20"||$45 USD||In Stock|
|20" x 24"||$65 USD||Special Order*|
|24" x 30"||$90 USD||Special Order*|
*Special Orders require 2-3 extra weeks for delivery.
Shipping and handling:
| Shipping |
| Shipping |
For more than one print, add $1 ($2 Europe) for each additional print.
For rates to other countries, please contact MrEclipse.
Prints are usually in stock and available for immediate shipping
(except for Special Orders which require 2-3 extra weeks for delivery).
Cash or Check (US dollars) payable to "Fred Espenak".
All foreign (non-USA) checks require a $10 collection fee charged by our bank.
Sorry, no credit cards.
1998 Eclipse Print (Order Form)
Secial offer! Order any two prints of the 1998, 1999, or 2001 total solar eclipses and save!
Get a pair of 11" x 14" prints for $50, two 16" x 20" prints for $70, two 20" x 24" prints for $110 or two 24" x 30" prints for $150.
|Set of two 11" x 14" prints||$50 USD|
|Set of two 16" x 20" prints||$70 USD|
|Set of two 20" x 24" prints||$110 USD|
|Set of two 24" x 30" prints||$150 USD|
1998 & 1999 Eclipse Print Sets (Order Form)
1998 & 2001 Eclipse Print Sets (Order Form)
1999 & 2001 Eclipse Print Sets (Order Form)
Order all three prints of the 1998 , 1999 or 2001 total solar eclipses and save!
Get a trio of 11" x 14" prints for $70, three 16" x 20" prints for $100, three 20" x 24" prints for $150 or three 24" x 30" prints for $220.
1998, 1999 & 2001 Eclipse Print Sets (Order Form)
For special instructions on the care and mounting of deluxe color prints, see:
Care of Deluxe Prints
For more information and volume discounts, contact: MrEclipse
All photographs are copyright by Fred Espenak.
Please contact him (at MrEclipse for all uses of these images
in print, web, video, CD and all other media.
Last revised: 2006 Oct 20