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Eclipse of the Sun: 20th March 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by SolarSteve   
Friday, 20 March 2015 12:36

Much of today's partial eclipse of the sun was visible from Ledbury:

There was hazy sky at 08:30, when an appreciable chunk of the sun had already been covered by the moon, but cloud steadily thickened from the east and by 09:00 the sun was completely obscured. This cloud was quite high, so there would have been no advantage going up the Malverns. Tantalising, since the sky to the west was still clear...

However, some breaks in the cloud did occur towards 09:20, improving as time went on. Maximum eclipse in Ledbury was at 09:32, when the moon covered about 85% of the sun's disc. It went a bit darker, but not any more than on a grotty cloudy morning. As the moon gradually receded, the weather improved considerably, with clear, but hazy, sky for the remainder. The moon cleared the sun's disc at about 10:35.

Here is a photo of totality, apparently taken from an aeroplane above the Faroes.  Many people had descended on its capital Tórshavn, which is about the size of Leominster.  However, all reports said it was densely cloudy and all that happened was it got dark.  Svalbard (the other land - hardly mass - that saw totality) fared better.

Many parts of the UK saw very little, so it seems we were lucky in Ledbury.


At 09:21 (left) and 09:24 (right)

At 09:30 (left) and 09:32 (right)
At about the maximum of 85% coverage

At 09:36 (left) and 09:41 (right)
The moon starts to move away...

At 09:43 (left) and 09:52 (right)

At 09:58 (left) and 10:05 (right)
Beginning to look a bit like Pac-Man now..

The block of photos above were taken through a silvered mylar filter of the same type as used for solar safety glasses. The cloud was thick enough for a direct shot near maximum eclipse, which is the photo that introduces this article.

One of the 'safe' ways of viewing eclipses is to project the sun's image via a telescope onto a white sheet. This gives better results than a pinhole camera - and was quite easy to set up - aim the telescope at the sun (but don't look though it!). One can see from its shadow when it is correctly aimed, and the sun's image became visible.

At 10:07 (left) and 10:09 (right)

At 10:25 (left) and 10:28 (right)

Since the image is inverted, the photos of the end of the eclipse (below and above left) are inverted back. Note the sunspot near the receding edge of the moon. (Right-click on any image and select 'View Image' to see a larger version.)

At 10:29 (left) and 10:31 (right)
The eclipse was nearly over...

Update: Here are a couple of shots taken on my iPhone (whose battery died shortly afterwards - hence the delay in publishing) of the filter grafted onto my Olympus SP565.  The filter was intended to fit an SLR, so an adapter was needed.  An empty Lidl yoghurt pot with its base removed worked quite well: foam rubber round the inside to mount it firmly on the Olympus and its flanged glued onto a piece of card that fitted the Cokin filter holder.  The inside was sprayed matt black to reduce reflections:

Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2015 10:02
Comments (1)
Shooting Solar
1 Monday, 23 March 2015 15:21
John Eager
Great shots, Steve