Partial Solar Eclipse – 20th March 2015

A number of Society Members joined our sister society, Milton Keynes Astronomical Society, by the Black Horse Statue in Central Milton Keynes to view the eclipse. At first light cloud covered the Sun, but this actually made the early stages of the eclipse easier to view.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

 

By shortly after nine o’clock the clouds had largely dispersed and an interested crowd had gathered around the assortment of instruments brought by astronomers and natural historians (some of them the same people!)

 

 

More and more of the solar disc was blocked by the Moon and the sunlight began to take on an eerie aspect, as if someone had slid along a dimmer switch on the daylight. Over 80% of the Sun was blocked by now.

By shortly after 9-30 the eclipse had reached its maximum: because Milton Keynes lay to the South of the track of totality the Moon slid along the upper part of the solar disc, creating a slightly comical “Smiley Face”.

Then the Moon began to slide off to the other side of the Sun. The black disc of the Moon could be seen visibly moving across that of the Sun – one could watch the Solar System in action!

By about 10 am normal daylight had been resumed and the fascinated and at times awed members of the public who had gathered around dispersed, having seen the motion of the Moon around the Earth with their own eyes.

 

The means of showing them this sight devised by the astronomers were often most ingenious, notably this apparatus devised from a telescope and a petrol funnel.

Thanks are due to Milton Keynes Astronomical Society for their superb display. Their website is at http://www.mkas.org.uk/

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Taken at 8-36 am

Taken at 8-36 am

Milton Keynes Astronomical Society waiting for the eclipse to start

Milton Keynes Astronomical Society waiting for the eclipse to start

Partial Solar Eclipse, Milton Keynes, 20th March 2015

Partial Solar Eclipse, Milton Keynes, 20th March 2015

Partial Solar Eclipse, Milton Keynes, 20th March 2015

Partial Solar Eclipse, Milton Keynes, 20th March 2015

Partial Solar Eclipse, Milton Keynes, 20th March 2015

Ingenious screen devised from a petrol funnel.

 

Paul Manchester has supplied this higher resolution picture below. The photo was taken by Robert Anderson on a Nikon D7000, using manual mode with a neutral density no 6 filter, 300mm zoom lens  set to 280mm, 1/1000th shutter speed, f/8 aperture, and 100 ISO.

Partial Eclipse 20 March 2015

Partial Eclipse 20 March 2015