As the annual eclipse approaches, the best way to experience the different parts of the eclipse is to be ready with the proper viewing equipment.
Staring directly at the Sun during an eclipse is dangerous, so we must find safe ways to observe it. Looking at it directly through an unfiltered camera or telescope provides no protection for your eyes, but using filters and taking picture or video to look at later is a good way.
So what can you see in the pictures and video you get?
Perhaps the most recognizable feature is the solar corona, which can be seen when the Moon is directly in front of the Sun during the totality period. The corona is the outer atmosphere of the Sun, which looks like bright, long wisps.
If you observe some hints of red around the edge of the Moon, you could be looking at prominences or the solar chromosphere. The solar chromosphere is a lower layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, where hydrogen gas emits a red color. Some red areas that jut out from the layer a little are prominences, which are clouds of gas held in by the Sun’s magnetic field.
Baily’s Beads, named after astronomer Francis Baily, occur when parts of the Sun can shine brighter on the edges of the Moon. This is thanks to irregularities on the Moon’s surface that are lower and let more light pass by.
Just before and just after totality, one can observe the Diamond Ring effect, where an extremely small fraction of the Sun’s photosphere is still visible. Both this and Baily’s Beads are still direct rays of Sun, so be sure to have proper protection when viewing these phenomena.