Friday 20 March 2015

Meteorology 0 Astronomy 1 (Spring Equinox Cup, second leg)

To continue the footballing analogy, "Match abandoned at half time during the second leg, due to bad weather." But that doesn't really tell the whole story...

Friday 20th March 2015, the day of the solar eclipse, dawned cloudy. I awoke at 06.45 and confirmed my worst fears when I retracted the kitchen window blind. By 07.45, it was raining, with the only prospect of hope being a strong breeze that might move the clouds on.

Meantime, I prepared what I could for any possible safe viewing opportunities by digging out my solar specs from under an astronomical 16 years worth of detritus. Then, I carefully bungee-ed my bins to a tripod and taped over one of the 'oculars', to allow for a single image should the Fates decree.

At 08.25, shortly before the eclipse was due to begin, a chunk of blue sky hove into sight and I attempted to capture a test image of the Sun using the solar specs and a mobile phone.

The results weren't that great, but a whole lot better than this shot of a less-than-heavenly body...

As the Moon began to encroach upon the disc of the Sun, I rushed to find a suitable place to project the binocular image, ending up using the study window and the guest bedroom door.

As wispy clouds threatened to spoil the show, their shadows on the face of the Sun made it look as though the wooden door was smouldering! [Message to Our Lass: If you're reading this, pet, it wasn't!]

As the Moon continued to obscure more and more of the Sun, there were several hasty realignments of apparatus, progressively blocking the doorway to the study, potentially risking damaged optics or a slipped disc.

By now, the projected image was progressing along the corridor, so the image became slightly distorted. At the maximum coverage for this latitude, approximately 97% of totality, some colour effects (presumably from the binocular lenses) were noted.


At this point, the wet weather returned with a vengeance and didn't clear up again until after the eclipse had ended.

Well, we fared much better than some folk, so no complaints from me. And there's less than 12 hours to go until it is officially Spring. Yay!


Martin said...

I'm glad you had prepared in case the weather happened to change. A nice timeline of photos there.
Needless to say London had low cloud and mist. We were more concerned the people in the top of the Shard and Canary Wharf might see the eclipse from ABOVE the clouds.... It didn't even get dark, just a little colder. Roll on August 12, 2026.

Imperfect and Tense said...

You know me, Martin, a wily old purveyor of the 7 Ps.

I wonder if folk'll still be shooting grouse in 2026?

biobabbler said...

Wow, how very cool. I 1st heard about this event the morning after it was all over, so was miffed. Then I saw where on the planet it was visible and understood. YOU are among the relatively few who got to see it. Nice documentation. =)

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanks, bb. I didn't mention the best bit... the BBC have an occasional series called Stargazing Live featuring physicist Professor Brian Cox and comedian Dara O'briain. So for eclipse week, there were three programmes with lots of interesting science and excellent guests (Buzz Aldrin, what a guy). It made me realise how few truly decent science progs there are. And much nerdy banter, kinda like Big Bang Theory for old people!