LOS ANGELES — Ronald Dantowitz has been looking forward to Monday’s solar eclipse for nearly 40 years.
An astronomer who specializes in solar imaging, he’s been photographing eclipses for more than three decades and will be using 14 cameras to capture Monday’s celestial event.
The cameras have solar filters to capture the eclipse in its partial phases, along with custom modifications that can photograph the corona and light wavelengths invisible to the human eye, allowing scientists to view and study the sun’s temperature and composition in a way only possible during a total eclipse, he said.
Dantowitz, who is based at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, Mass., is lending his expertise to NOVA’s Eclipse Over America, airing at 9 p.m. Monday (all times are Eastern Daylight) on PBS. That hourlong special, which will incorporate his images, is among extensive coverage planned on TV and online of the first solar eclipse to cross the United States in 99 years.
Still, witnessing totality – when the sun is completely obscured by the moon – is best done with the naked eye, not a camera, Dantowitz said, adding the total eclipse is safe to view without special lenses.
“I have been waiting almost 40 years for this eclipse and although I will be operating 14 cameras during totality, I will certainly take a moment to gaze at the eclipse the same way people have done for thousands of years: with wonder,” he said.
For those not in the 14 states making up the eclipse’s “path of totality,” here’s a look at some of the viewing opportunities online and on TV:
• Eclipse of the Century: CNN plans two hours of livestreaming, 360-degree coverage accessible in virtual reality through Oculus headsets beginning at 1 p.m.
• Eclipse Over America: The PBS science series NOVA is planning a quick turnaround on its eclipse documentary. Senior executive producer Paula S. Apsell said Eclipse Over America delves into why eclipses occur and what scientists can learn from them.
• Great American Eclipse: The Science Channel will broadcast its live coverage from Madras, Ore., with commentary from educators and astronomers from the Lowell Observatory from noon to 4 p.m.
• The Great American Eclipse: David Muir will anchor ABC’s two hours of live coverage, with correspondents reporting from viewing parties across the country.
• Solar Eclipse: Through the Eyes of NASA: NASA will offer hours of coverage online and on NASA Television beginning at noon Eastern. It plans livestreaming of the eclipse beginning at 1 p.m.