Partial Solar Eclipse
In a week that had already brought a meteor streaking through the skies above Loch Ness and a huge display of the Northern Lights the odds of actually getting to view the Partial Solar Eclipse of 20th March 2015 seemed slim. Nevertheless, and despite the mostly doom-laden weather forecasts, we ventured forth on Friday morning, delighted to find that south of Aberdeen the cloud was beginning to break and blue sky appear. The initial plan had been to head south towards Arbroath as there were breaks promised on the coast but it seemed there might be a better chance inland and so we turned off the A90 and headed up to the Cairn o’ Mount where there was already a reasonable crowd of folk gathering by 08:45.
Quickly getting the equipment set up it was nice to see that, through the occasional thinning clouds, the eclipse was already underway (first contact was approx 08:32). At first it appeared as though the cloud wasn’t going to clear but gradually over the next few minutes more and more gaps appeared until there was blue sky overhead and the last patch obscuring the sun moved away.
The sight was glorious, whether viewed through solar film or through the camera and we delighted in taking turns with the viewer and checking out the image on the computer screen.
I had my Canon 450D camera attached to my Vixen 80mm refracting telescope and used my laptop to capture images and display a live view as the eclipse progressed.
Meanwhile Leslie was perched on a wall with a homemade eclipse viewer enjoying the sight as the moon gradually slid across the sun.
As the time of greatest eclipse approached the light dimmed to a strange twilight, the wind dropped and the birds stopped chirping. There was mostly silence amongst the onlookers who were using a myriad of official and homemade devices to watch the event. Plenty of cameras were pointed at the sky as the crescent thinned to the point of greatest eclipse, about 94% at approximately 09:37.
The moon continued its journey across the disc of the sun, people slowly drifted away but we stayed until the end, enjoying the warmth returning to the day and the return to normality. I continued to capture images as the eclipse came towards an end. It was only now that the clouds started to make a comeback, at first dimming the view but then thickening until we lost sight of the sun completely. It was time to pack up and head into town for a well earned brunch.