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Bagging Baily’s Beads

24 Aug 2017, 17:15 UTC
Bagging Baily’s Beads
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Baily’s Beads captured during the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. © Jason Major.
This has to be my favorite photo I captured during the August 21 solar eclipse from Charleston, SC. It shows a phenomenon called Baily’s Beads, which is caused by the last bits of Sun peeking through low points and between mountains along the limb of the Moon in the final moments before 100% totality. They’re only visible for a few seconds between the “diamond ring” effect (which I did not capture) and the appearance of the Sun’s outer corona, and I’m very happy to have caught them on camera!

I’ve never experienced (much less photographed) a total eclipse of the Sun before, and so I was limited to what I already know about photography and what I read online from those who have done it before. I was hoping to capture all phases of the eclipse from start to finish and assemble a nice montage, but unfortunately the weather in Charleston on the 21st wasn’t conducive to that—visibility through the cloud cover was spotty at best, and everyone there was extremely lucky to be able to see totality at all…many parts north of the city didn’t ...

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