Cre­ate your own so­lar­graph

Cosmos - - Cos­mos Sci­ence Club -

Want to snap a photo that cap­tures months in a sin­gle frame? So­largraphs im­ages are a fu­sion of art and sci­ence. With a few ba­sic ma­te­ri­als and a gen­er­ous help­ing of pa­tience, you can cap­ture the grand scale of the uni­verse in your own back­yard. As so­larg­ra­phy en­thu­si­ast Chuck Bueter says: “It’s vis­ceral, it’s fun, it’s sci­ence.” YOU WILL NEED

• A clean, empty drink can • Matte black spray paint • A sewing nee­dle or pin • Pliers • Scis­sors • A red light ( e. g. a torch cov­ered in

red cel­lo­phane) • Black and white pho­to­graphic pa­per • Black duct tape • Ac­cess to a photo scan­ner


1 Cut off the top end of the can and spray the in­side with black paint to min­imise reflections. 2 Us­ing the sewing nee­dle or pin pinched in pliers, punch a hole in the side of the can from the in­side out­wards. The hole should be about 3 cm from the sealed bot­tom end of the can. 3 In a dark room or wardrobe, us­ing your red light to see, take a piece of pho­to­graphic pa­per and trim it to fit in­side the can. It should curl around the inner walls but not cover the pin­hole. Make sure the light­sen­si­tive side is fac­ing the pin­hole. Se­cure the pa­per with a small piece of duct tape. 4 Close off the top of the can with duct tape, mak­ing sure no light can get in. Then use a piece of tape to cover the pin­hole (your ‘shut­ter’). 5 Mount the can se­curely out­side (e.g. on a pole or fence) with the hole fac­ing the Sun. Choose a place where you will not only cap­ture the Sun but also some in­ter­est­ing fore­ground ob­jects. When you are ready, peel off the ‘shut­ter’ and the ex­po­sure will be­gin. It is rec­om­mended to start at ei­ther the sum­mer or win­ter sol­stice, and let the ex­po­sure go un­til the next sol­stice. 6 When you are ready to take down the can, cover the pin­hole ‘lens’ again with tape. Be­fore you open the can, pre­pare for the next step. Have your scan­ner switched on and ready to scan. En­sure the room is as dark as pos­si­ble. Ex­tract the pho­to­graphic pa­per and quickly scan it; you only want to scan your pa­per once, as the scan­ner’s light will ex­pose your ‘film’ fur­ther. 7 Once scanned, use dig­i­tal edit­ing tools to ad­just con­trast and bright­ness. Now you have a stun­ning im­age to share!


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