When the Sun meets the Moon

Everything you need to know about the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017

August 18th, 2017 | OPTIS group



  • The Moon's umbral shadow will cross the continental United States on August 21, 2017, creating a coast-to-coast total solar eclipse visible to millions.
  • The drive to actually understand eclipses and predict them was one of the drivers of ancient astronomy, and thus one of the drivers for the whole idea of science.
  • A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between you and the Sun, hiding part or all of the Sun from view.
  • The Moon is a sunlit ball and casts a shadow, and we see an eclipse of the Sun when the Moon’s shadow sweeps over us, like in the diagram below.
  • A total eclipse is much more spectacular than a partial — not only because the sky and land get much darker, but especially because during totality we get a rare look at the Sun’s intricate, feathery corona: its outermost atmosphere, made mostly of free electrons and protons that are trapped in the Sun’s loopy, streaky magnetic field.


Since its beginning, OPTIS offers its unique know-how for the study of planets. Its SPEOS flagship software - dedicated to the simulation of light and human vision based on the physical laws of optics - makes it possible to simulate telescope lenses and to virtually prototype satellites. More recently, the company's cutting-edge solutions also offer the possibility to virtually recreate the environment and brightness of planets or constellations of the solar system from physical data. The result? A truer-than-life rendering of extraterrestrial surfaces.


Let's take the opportunity of this cosmic coincidence to travel through space and time!


Concept design of the first astronomic simulator of the Saint-Étienne Planetarium. The projector and lens system, placed in the center of the room needed to be optimized to cast the images of planets and show the differences in brightness of the stars. OPTIS takes up this technical and cultural challenge and succeeds in showing how it is possible to optimize the display on a hemispheric screen, the starry sky and the planets visible to the naked eye in the most realistic way possible. 


OPTIS offers its expertise in optics for the HELIOS II observation satellite. The Company works in the optimization of the optical systems used in this French Satellite, enabling it to operate its cameras both as cameras operating in visible and infrared light to detect signs of activity during the day and night. 



OPTIS works on the first digital planetarium in France: with new projection technologies, new possibilities have emerged. The planetarium becomes a virtual spaceship giving the illusion of being able to travel through space and time.  




Dassault Systèmes calls on OPTIS to demonstrate its light simulation solutions which virtually recreate the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium, both inside and outside, taking in account the lighting conditions, optical effects and actual material used in the construction of the building, that are required to render the resulting simulations as close as real-world as possible. Learn more!


The China Academy of Space Technology chooses OPTIS software to optimize satellite design. They have chosen OPTIS' SPEOS software for stray light analysis to optimize the optical performance of satellites and imaging equipment used in space. Learn more!




The OPTIS Team took up the challenge of creating highly realistic renderings of the surface of Titan, Saturn's biggest moon, from simple numerical data measured by the Cassini-Huygens probe.