Bolton Astronomical Society

Viewing the solar eclipse from "abroad"
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Author:  rwilkinson [ Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Viewing the solar eclipse from "abroad"

Well, in South Wales actually! ;)
Although I was devastated not to be able to join you at Bolton School on Friday, my disappointment was tempered by the weather where I was working down in the Wye Valley - we had clear skies all morning - a complete contrast to my experience trying to catch the 1999 eclipse from central France! 8-)

As I'd mentioned in a previous post (, I'd taken my tracking-platform with me, along with a DSLR and 200m lens fitted with a home-made AstroSolar filter. I left this running, taking a picture every three minutes throughout the event, to make up this time-lapse movie:

But I'd also taken with me three home-made eclipse-viewing spectacles (made from cardboard and some offcuts of the AstroSolar film). I kept one pair for use by me and my two workmates, so we were able to take a break from our meeting and pop outside to see how the event wwas progressing:
File comment: Viewing the eclipse from the Wye Valley
eclipse viewing.jpg
eclipse viewing.jpg [ 222.03 KiB | Viewed 2242 times ]
We all noticed how cold it got as we neared the maximum phase of the eclipse. I'd also set up the little Celestron 60mm achromat (fitted with another AstroSolar filter) so that we could have a look close-up, and even observe the silhouettes of some of the mountains and valleys around the lunar limb.

The second pair of my eclipse spectacles went into Bristol with a friend, where dozens of her colleagues and interested parties from nearby offices used them to view the event from there.
And our youngest BAS Member, Matthew (aged 9) took the third pair along to Shirenewton Primary School, so that all his fellow-pupils could have a good look at the event. He also took a simple pinhole camera (which we'd hurriedly made that morning from an old cardboard box), plus the obligatory colander to provide alternative methods of viewing, and got a commendation from his teachers for being so enterprising. 8-)

Author:  rwilkinson [ Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Viewing the solar eclipse from "abroad"

:idea: I've since thought of more ways of observing an eclipse using "non-optical" techniques, which can even be done retrospectively...

First, noting how cold we'd felt standing outdoors during the peak of the eclipse, I found the data-set from a thermometer at a local Weather Underground personal weather-station just up the road from where I was:
I've re-plotted their data from last Friday morning:
File comment: Temperature data from the morning of the eclipse from WUnderground station ICHEPSTO3 in Devauden, Monmouthshire
eclipse_temp.jpg [ 36.38 KiB | Viewed 2214 times ]

Then I found another station across the Severn which also recorded "solar radiation" (i.e. light-levels):
Here is their data - it shows that during the peak of the eclipse it got as dark as it had been before 7am:
File comment: Solar radiation intensity data from the WUnderground station IENGLAND855 in Dursley, Gloucestershire
eclipse_light.jpg [ 51.32 KiB | Viewed 2214 times ]
(and it looks like they had a little cloud around 11:15 - or maybe that was one of Dave Walker's plane-transits?)

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