Berkeleyans come out in force to view eclipse of the sun

Eclipse watching at the Lawrence Hall of Science on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Elazar Sontag

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Berkeley residents are interested, and engaged in, the environment around them. Thus many of us could be found peering at the sun yesterday evening, either through special eclipse glasses or using the time-tested pinhole method, in order to witness the partial eclipse of the sun while it was visible from our perch on the planet.

We bring you a selection of the remarkable images that resulted from a group of Berkeleyside readers.

Collage of the eclipse taken in downtown Berkeley using X-ray film. Photo: Giséle Frazão Teixeira

The partial solar eclipse towards the beginning of the process, with visible sun spots. Photo: Ira Serkes

As the eclipse progressed a crescent shape emerged. Photo: ira Serkes

Perhaps the quintessential Berkeley picture of the eclipse: its reflection on the back of a Prius. Photo: Bill Newton

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  • shrinkwrapper

    These images were produced by the sun passing through the leaves of tress up near Gtrizzly Peak Blvd. As I understand it, as the eclipse reaches near totality in our zone, the light from the partially obscured sun passed through pinholes in the leaves, as in a classic shoe-box apparatus. I noticed these images on the gropund as I walked to the Lawrence Hall gathering.

  • BHS student

    Isn’t it fantastic that we have someplace like Lawrence Hall to go to look at the eclipse?

  • Bill

    Unfortunately the Obama sticker had worn off!

  • signoradefarge

    I observed an interesting phenomeon.  I have some crystals hanging in my windows, and normally, when the sun shines through them, they cast oblong spectra all over the house.  During the eclipse, the spectra became crescent- shaped.

  • Suzanne Yada

    A little more info on that pinhole effect – Aristotle also wondered about it:

  • berklou

    I used a regular hole punch to make a larger hole, thinking I would get a bigger image.  It totally didn’t work.  Does anyone know why a larger hole doesn’t make the image?

  • There are several ways to explain this without getting all mathematical.

    You might think of an aperture such as that created by a hole punch as being subdivided a large number of smaller pinholes, each of which projects its own relatively sharp image. However, these images are not projected to the same place but are slightly offset from each other. Consequently, a larger aperture increases the total amount of transmitted light at the expense of the resolution of the final image. Alternatively you might think of a beam of light being emitted from a point on the sun and passing through the hole onto your paper. When the hole is small, there is basically only one angle along which the light can travel through the hole, but when the hole is large there is a range of angles along which it can travel, and so the image becomes blurry. The mathematics of these two descriptions is the same. In any case, making the hole too large can be fixed somewhat by moving the hole farther away from whatever you project the image onto, although if you made it hole-punch size you would probably have to move it an unwieldy distance.

  • Anonymous

    A hole punch sized hole would have a very long focal length.  I used a hole about that size to project onto the side of my house from about 50′ away for the kids and as D. H. Parks points out it wasn’t nearly as sharp as a pinhole.