More People Have Walked on the Moon Than Have Captured the Analemma

Want a challenging photography project? Try capturing an analemma in a single shot. “Analemma” is the name given to the figure-eight shape traced by the sun if photographed at the same time of day over the course of a year. To capture it, you’ll need to leave your camera in a fixed position and shoot photos at exactly the same time of day for all of the shots.

[…] the imaging of the analemma is considered perhaps the most difficult and demanding astrophotography project that one can pursue. Aside from requiring significant analysis and preparation prior to starting the imaging of the sun over local skies lasting twelve months in duration, one must also exercise discipline, organization and accurate procedural matters in order to assure that a properly framed and structured analemma will be produced at the end of the twelve months. [#]

The first successful analemma photo (shown above) consisted of 44 exposures on a single frame of film, and was made by New England photographer Dennis di Cicco between 1978 and 1979. Including di Cicco’s photo, it has only been captured on a single frame of film seven times — less than the number of people that have walked on the moon!

Update: Dennis sent us this July 1979 issue of Sky & Telescope that discusses some of the challenges in shooting an analemma:

Solar Image Gallery – Analemma (via Metafilter)

Image credits: Photograph by Dennis Di Cicco and used with permission

  • Porto Street Shooting

    Dennis di Cicco couldn’t capture it between 1978 and 1879 because 1879 happens before 1978. 

  • r

    Shooting the photos between 1978 and 1879 is even more impressive than the successful analemma photo!

  • Joe

    Better check those dates.

  • Luke Lucas

    /insert angry rhetoric about quality of writing on this site

    /return to mother’s basement

  • Denis O’Donovan

    No problem shooting between 1978 and 1879 when you have the 5DmkIII like I have :-)

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks, caught that and fixed it shortly after it was published :)

  • Ryan Troop
  • Guest

    Analemma… sounds like a porn star….

  • Anon

    The advertisement at the bottom of the Scribd. page says “Show me more about Anal Emma.” Sounds nsfw.

  • Joebwan123

    The shadow of the chimney across the roof seems inconsistent with the sun’s position over the multiple exposures throughout the year.

  • SiriusPhotog

    That’s because only one exposure is taken for the foreground objects and it’s taken later in the day when the sun is not in the frame.