György Soponyai/Flickr (cc by nc 2.0)
November 15, 2016

A total solar eclipse happens only about once every 18 months, and is frequently only visible from hard-to-reach places on the globe.

In March 2015, photographer György Soponyai flew to Spitsbergen, an island of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, to photograph the total solar eclipse.

And the Hungarian photographer just released a digitally-manipulated shot that gives everyone a better idea of what this incredible astronomical rarity is actually like.

György Soponyai/Flickr (cc by nc 2.0)

Soponyai set up his camera on a tripod and shot two photos—one of the solar disc making its way across the sky and another of the foreground—every 15 minutes for a total of 12 hours.

“I spent the whole day counting the minutes,” he told WIRED.

After a grueling day in below-zero temperatures, Soponyai flew back to his computer to stitch together the 72 photographs he had taken. He layered each one over a 360-degree panoramic photograph he took during the first minute of the eclipse. The image has been altered to make the landscape look round like a planet.

György Soponyai/Flickr (cc by nc 2.0)

In September, Soponyai was awarded the best Aurorae photograph of the year for his pastel, otherworldly shot of the Aurora Borealis. He has been photographing through his telescope for the past five years.

If you think Soponyai's image is cool, take note that the next total solar eclipse will be Aug. 21, 2017. It will be the first total solar ecliipse visible to the continental U.S. since 1979, and will cross from Oregon to South Carolina. August may seem far away, but the time is now to make plans to be in the eclipse path. Many hotels in prime spots are already selling out.

And for those who can’t make it, Soponyai has said that he will be there to photograph it.

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