It was solar eclipse day yesterday I managed to observe it despite the pretty grim weather forecasts in the days prior. This is me getting set up with telescopes on the roof of a building at Newcastle University. Absolutely perfect spot to see it and no real danger of accidentally tumbling over the side of the building!
It was mostly cloudy during the eclipse though. There was clear blue to the west and a little to the north but clouds mostly remained in front of the Sun during the morning. They broke completely minutes after the eclipse ended. Oh yes!
I was joined on the roof by staff and students at INTO. We did see some of the eclipse. The cloud gaps were small but slow moving. Here's my first eclipse pic taken about 20 minutes after it began:
A small sunspot is visible on the solar disk and the clouds, damn them, add something to the photograph. Lucky me. The Sun never really shone brightly enough for the PST (hydrogen alpha) telescope to be of much use.
The clouds covered the Sun up until mid-eclipse. But in the west and overhead the sky stayed clear. The temperature dropped a little - maybe a couple of degrees. By the time of maximum eclipse arrived the ambient light level had dropped to a level more like dusk. Exterior lights on neighbouring buildings began to switch on. The Sun reappeared through gaps in the cloud. I took some more pictures.
More than 90% of the solar disk was obscured at mid-eclipse. The Sun was visible through the clouds and the eclipse viewers and solar filters were useless under those conditions. It was comfortable to look at the Sun as it faded in and out of view during the half an hour after mid eclipse. This was the unfiltered camera view as the moon was uncovering the Sun:
The clouds returned and obscured the final stages of the eclipse. Nevermind. Felt lucky to see any of it if I'm honest. I packed up at around 10.40am as the eclipse was officially ending in Newcastle. I carried my gear along a corridor, into a lift and then down some stairs. As I left the building I was faced with full sunshine and not many clouds. Ten minutes later I was back on my normal timetable and teaching geometric series to my students in a nearby classroom.
That was yesterday.
Fast forward roughly 34 hours and the moon is in the evening sky. A narrow crescent just 3% illuminated by the Sun. This is how it looked an hour after sunset from near my home.
The next eclipse I'm hoping to see is a total lunar eclipse in the early hours of September 28th later this year.
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Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.