Solar Eclipse Tracking Logbook


Before attempting anything eclipse related, please read the NASA Eclipse Saftey Guidelines

The Event

Did you know that there are over 10 distinct things that can happen during an eclipse?

Keep reading and you will know exactly when and where they will occur. Skip to the good stuff - those 10 things you might be able to see


Behold, the grandest Solar Eclipse Logbook that ever dared to traverse the vast expanse of humankind! Well, maybe not. But it is an excellent tool to track the different events that occur during the grand majesty of a solar eclipse.

Our previous attempts at logging eclipses were... not picturesque. So, designing a logbook became a focus of the Laboratory. The question to answer was, "How do you capture the astonishingly unique astronomical events that occur during a total solar eclipse?

And so we came up with this! It is our gift to the world. We want to share our love of science with everyone we meet. Please download the files and print them for your own use. Share them with your friends. Always remember to make sure that we, SFAQT Laboratories, get credit with our name and link

The Logbook

And may this glorious Solar Eclipse Logbook illuminate your journey through the mysteries of the Heavens, ever reminding you of the stupendous bond shared by all seekers of truth under the watchful eye of the Cosmos.

Note about the images: If you want to see further details or zoom in, please right click on any image and select the "Open image in new tab."


Solar Eclipse Tracking Logbook printable PDF - full color

Solar Eclipse Tracking Logbook printable BW PDF - Black and White

Registro dell'eclissi solare - IT PDF

Solar Eclipse Tracking Logbook - Original SVG Open this file when you want change the date to the next solar eclipse that you will be observing. You will need software that can modify an svg file. We recommend Inkscape. It is free.



Be sure to print out several logbooks. You will want to practice using them before the solar eclipse. We have provided links below to familiarize yourself with the different aspects of the eclipse that you will be observing. The more you practice with your logbook before the eclipse, the more prepared you will be.

Location #1 - History

Eclipse Diamond Ring <

One day, while buried in a stack of books in a dusty archive, we discovered this delightful tome, Astronomy explained upon Sir Isaac Newton's principles.... It was published around 1764 by James Ferguson. This image was found in the weathered pages of the book, which seemed as ancient as the stars themselves. It represents a solar eclipse, showing a simplified view of the geometry of an eclipse (Figure II).

Figure III shows what will happen to the Sun during an eclipse from the vantage point of a person on Earth. The scale underneath represents a repeating 0-60 minutes of time.

The most important takeaway from this image is the understanding that the Moon will be positioned between the Earth and the Sun. By some cosmic coincidence, the Moon's diameter at that distance appears to be the same as the Sun's, although they are, of course, not the same in actual diameter. However, to someone observing from a geocentric perspective (meaning from the standpoint of someone standing on Earth), they appear to be the same or nearly the same.

The QR Code <

This QR code, when scanned with your phone, directs you back to this page of instructions. For those preferring not to use the QR code, a tinyurl is also provided.

Location #3 - Observer Data

The Observer Data <

This section is all about you, the observer.

Write the date of the eclipse, so that when you revisit this logbook, years from now, you'll remember which eclipse you were tracking. And because I am so sure that you will be completely overwhelmed by the unparalleled awesomeness of the current eclipse, I know you will seek out more.

Next, write your name, a most critical piece of information during the scientific process. This is so that when you're comparing notes with your Amateur Scientist friends, you'll be able to tell your logbooks apart.

Finally, you need to put the latitude and longitude of the location from which you are viewing the eclipse. If you don't know your latitude and longitude, fear not! There are a number of ways to ascertain this . Peruse these links and find the one that suits you best.

Knowing your latitude and longitude will be very important for the next few steps.

Location #4 - Baily's Beads and the Diamond Ring.

Baily's Beads and Diamond Ring Eclipse Artist's Renditions

If you have ever seen an image of an eclipse, the image that likely comes to mind is the Diamond Ring. It occurs when the Sun is not quite fully obscured by the Moon. If you turn your head clockwise, it looks like a giant diamond ring in the sky.

Baily's Beads can appear from 10 to 0 seconds right before the totality of the solar eclipse. They can also occur after the third contact. These phenomena happen very quickly, over the course of a few seconds, and are pretty hard to see because the effect lasts for such a short duration. You will most likely need approved solar eclipse viewing binoculars to observe them.

The cause of Baily's Beads is the Sun shining through the valleys of the mountains on the Moon. In Location #4 of the logbook, the craters and their valleys have been exaggerated 60 times their actual size. This exaggeration is to show where the beads are likely to occur.

Baily's Beads and the Diamond Ring<

After doing section #8 of the logbook, come back here and draw faint outlines of where you expect to see Baily's beads.

During the eclipse, if you happen to see Baily's Beads right before 2nd contact or right after 3rd contact, draw circles on the chart to represent where you saw them. Write C2 (2nd contact), or C3 (3rd contact) next to your drawings, to differentiate in which phase you observed them.

This is what the Baily's Beads are predicted to look like at the SFAQT labs during eclipse 20240408.

My predicted Baily's Beads.

Note the instances on the chart where it says C2 (Second Contact) and C3 (Third Contact).

Practice drawing these in your logbook.

Location #5 - The Solar Corona

The Solar Corona

Solar Corona>

Just after 2nd contact, it may be possible to observe the Solar Corona. Since it changes constantly, quickly sketch what you see.

In the logbook, you'll find three faint outlines of the Sun that match the diameter of the Sun on the graph. Use these to accurately scale the corona.

To gain some practice BEFORE the eclipse, do the lesson here.

The Solar Corona is a layer of plasma surrounding the Sun. The phenomena you'll be observing are plasma influenced by various factors, including magnetic fields and temperature variations.

Solar Corona

The elements found on the Solar Corona may not be visible without the use of Sun filtered Telescope or Solar Binoculars. Use the image above to study these specific things to look for during the Solar Corona:

  • Prominences. These are bright loops of plasma on the edge of the Sun. They stretch from the Sun's surface into the corona, anchored by magnetic fields.
  • Helmet Streamers. Cusp-shaped structures in the corona, easiest to see during solar eclipses. They resemble medieval helmets, formed by solar magnetic fields and solar wind interactions. These are what makes viewing the Solar Corona during an eclipse so magnificent!
  • Coronal Loops. Also difficult to see without a telescope or Solar Binoculars. These are a different type of plasma loop on the edge of the Sun. Look closely at the image above to fully grasp the difference.

NASA has much more information about Solar Corona's here.

To see a prediction of what the Solar Corona may look like, visit Prediction Science. Practice drawing their imagery to get a feel for how to draw a Solar Corona.

Location #6 - Sunspots

The Sunspots>

To see sunspots, you will need specialty Solar Binoculars, or a Sun filtered Telescope. DO NOT put eclipse glasses on the end of your non-Solar Binoculars! If you do not have either of these, read on.

Sunspots are cooler areas on the Sun's surface influenced by its magnetic field. They can vary in size from tiny specks to expanses larger than Earth.

Observing these ephemeral features requires the right equipment, and if a sunspot is particularly large, you might spot it with your eclipse glasses.

To familiarize yourself with viewing sunspots, practice with your eclipse glasses a few days before the eclipse. Remember, sunspots may appear and disappear from one day to the next, lasting anywhere from a few hours to several months.


During the eclipse, this preparation could enhance your observation experience.

Use the Space Weather Live website. to practice drawing sunspots.

And if, during the eclipse, you can't see the sunspots due to a lack of equipment, visit that site so that you can still draw the sunspots.

Another interesting thing to do is to verify your drawings, by comparing them to the data collected on the Space Weather Live website after the eclipse.

To learn more about sunspots, visit the Astronomical League's Hydrogen Alpha Solar Observing Program. They have excellent information on the specific types of prominences and sunspots.

Location #7 - What to Expect and Timing of Events


The most important events, those 10+ things are:

  • 1st contact - The start of the Eclipse. The edges of the Moon and the Sun appear to touch.
  • Baily's Beads - These can occur just slightly before 2nd contact and just after 3rd contact.
  • Diamond Ring - The classic image of the eclipse. With one sparkling point of light lighting up like a sparkling diamond on a silver ring.
  • 2nd contact - Start of the Central Eclipse.
  • Totality - During totality, the Moon has completely covered the Sun. The Solar Corona is now visible.
  • Animal Reaction - Pay attention to the animals. They usually notice something is happening right as totality begins.
  • The Corona - The word corona means "crown". During the eclipse, it can become visible, where you can see streaming plasma leaving the Sun making streaks around it.
  • Stars - During totality it is possible to see stars. Sure you might see stars every night. But this is the chance to see the Fall Constellations in the middle of Spring.
  • Partial Eclipse - If you are not in the path of Totality, the Moon will only cover part of the Sun.
  • Annular Eclipse - If the eclipse that you're viewing is not a total eclipse, it may be an annular one. The ring of fire will appear around the Moon and the sky will grow dim.
  • Another chance for the Diamond Ring and Baily's Beads.
  • 3rd contact - End of the Central Eclipse.
  • 4th contact - End of Partial Eclipse. The edges of the Moon and Sun appear to touch for one last time.
  • Rapid Temperature Change - As the sun is blocked, the temperature, when read in direct sunlight, can fluctuate dramatically, usually by 10+°F.

Ther is a website to track the total amounts of minutes that you have spent in totality it works like a leaderboard. The site gives out virtual "Shadow badges"


The graphic at Location #7 illustrates the entire cycle of a total solar eclipse. All of the steps are illustrated; from the moment the Moon and the Sun seem to be on the verge of contact, through the Moon's advancement across the Sun, until it moves away, leaving the Sun fully visible once again.

The legend on the left of the images of the Sun and Moon describe what is happening during each phase.

The Schedule of the Eclipse

To calculate exactly when these events will happen where you will be standing go to Solar Eclipse Calculator & Diagram - Xavier Jubier

Record the predicted times in the logbook in Location #8 under Note. Find the proper row for each event.

For Example: Here is the information for the airport (88R) closest to the SFAQT labs.

Local Circumstance 88R

Latitude: 30.4736 (30 28.41600 N) Longitude: -98.1228 (98 7.36800 W)

Altitude: 250 meters.

"Our eclipse viewing time will be adjusted to 6:00 hours West of UTC and will account for Daylight Saving Time. CDT (Central Daylight Time) equals UTC-5."

Time Zone Converter – Time Difference Calculator

The second arrow in the image is pointing to "Display the Lunar Limb Profile" link on the xjubier page. This allows you to view the Lunar Limb profile for Location #4 in the logbook. The lunar limb refers to the edge of the Moon's visible surface from Earth. You will use this to help predict where the Baily's beads might appear to help fill in Location #7.

Take readings at begin + T. Where T is whatever time you have divided by how many minutes until 1st Contact.

You can estimate when each of the 1/8th contacts will occur by subtracting the time of 2nd Contact from the 1st Contact and dividing by 8.

For our example (in the image above)

    0d 13h 34m 49s (start of the central eclipse/2nd contact)
-   0d 12h 17m 02s (start of the 1st contact)
=   1h 17m 47s (difference between the two)
=   4667 s from C1 to C2 (1h 17m 47s converted into seconds)

4667 / 8 = 583.375seconds per 1/8th

We expect first contact at 13:34:49
1/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s +  583.375s = 12:26:45
2/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 1168.750s = 12:36:30
3/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 1750.125s = 12:46:12
4/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 2333.500s = 12:55:55
5/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 2916.875s = 13:05:38
6/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 3500.250s = 13:15:22
7/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 4083.625s = 13:25:05
8/8 should occur at 12h 17m 2s + 4667.000s = 13:34:49

If you need help with Clock Math you can use the Time Calculator at To convert hours, minutes and seconds into seconds, use

Location #8 - The Spreadsheet

The Spreadsheet>

The events from 2nd contact through 3rd contact are the most astonishingly awesome and the most brief, DO NOT let your attention be pulled away from the eclipse, do not allow any distractions to occur. These next events will happen very quickly, depending on your location. If you are located in the center of totality, these events should happen in about 4 and a half minutes. For everyone else, the events will happen even faster. Hit the video record button on your phone. You don't need to record the eclipse, but you should record the audio to help fill out your logbook at a later time.

When you see a phenomenon say, for example, "Baily's Beads!" Describe which quadrant of the Sun you see them on. How many do you see? Let the poetry of the moment flow through your words. Then, seconds later, when they disappear, say, "Baily's Beads are gone." Now, continue narrating the things you see aloud into your phone. Describe the Diamond Ring and it's location. Describe the Solar Corona and the shapes that are being made.

The Spreadsheet is where you log the data as it occurs. To get a fully immersed eclipse viewing experience, and to capture the memories of the moments, you're going to want to collect a lot of data. The elements that you can track with this logbook, if you have the equipment are; the time, the temperature, the brightness of the Sun, the azimuth of the Sun, the altitude of the Sun and any other Notes that occur to you.

Equipment Needed:


As each event occurs, write down the following information:

  • The time
  • The temperature in direct sunlight
  • The brightness of the Sun Measured with the Lux Meter or in Millimters using the grease spot meter
  • The azimuth of the Sun
  • The altitude of the Sun
  • Any other notes


For the azimuth and altitude of the Sun.

  • You can get these numbers real time on the Internet, using the software Stellarium
  • Or by building and using our Hemisphere Solar Tracker. and logging this data at a later time.
  • Or you can use other equipment like a telescope with degrees and elevation markings.

Arrive early to get setup. Be there at least 2 hours before the event. Observe all precautions as outline in the NASA safety guide above. Never stare or even look for a moment directly at the Sun!

Location #9 - Animals

Animal Observation<

Observe the animals in your vicinity. This is a reminder to observe how animals behave during the eclipse. Observe not only how dogs and cats react to the darkness of Totality, but also other humans and other wildlife, including birds.

Near our lab, wild turkeys and coyotes make distinct noises during solar and lunar eclipses. It is an incredible phenomenon to observe.

Location #10 - The Cover of the logbook.

The Cover<

Emblazon your name upon the cover in strokes bold and daring; let this tome bear witness to your journey. Proclaim to the world your presence, let the annals of history echo with the resonance of your name, inscribed with fervor and a touch of the audacity that the scientists of old themselves would admire. Let your name stand, large and proud, a beacon for those who dare to dabble in science.

Congratulations! You have filled out the Solar Eclipse Tracking April 2024 Logbook.

Note: To earn a Silver Award from the Astronomical League, of which you do not need to be a member, fill out their "Total Eclipse Experiences Checklist." Or simply download and print their "I Observed the Eclipse" certificate. For more information, visit The Astronomical League









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