Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)
Solar Partial Eclipse, 10 June 2021
OASI's first physical meeting since the start of the Covid-19 lockdowns in March 2020 was to observe the partial solar eclipse of 10 June 2021. The observing site was Newbourne Village Hall and, in order to comply with Covid regulations, the number of observers was limited to a maximum of thirty, and sharing of equipment was not permitted.
There had been unbroken sunshine on the previous day but, typically, the weather forecast for eclipse day was for cloud, although by the time observers began arriving at Newbourne, the sky was largely clear.
Nine observers attended, bringing with them a variety of observing equipment:
From first contact at 10.11am BST to maximum eclipse (31% obscuration) at 11.16am BST, the observers enjoyed good views of the eclipse, with only brief interruptions caused by passing cloud. By 11.20 BST, cloud rolled in, preventing further observations. The observers packed up and headed for home.
Below, images 1 and 2, by Andy Gibbs, show general views of the event, image 3 is by Mike O'Mahony, taken at approximately the time of mid-eclipse and images 4-6 by Mike Whybray show in sequence his two imaging systems, an image from the projection system and an image from his telescope.
The day before the eclipse benefited from unbroken sunshine from dawn to dusk. Unfortunately, weather prospects for the day of the eclipse were not as good. However, early in the day, the sky was reasonably clear so it seemed that at least some of the eclipse would be visible; and so it turned out.
There were good views of the first half of the eclipse but, by maximum eclipse the clouds had rolled in - and they stayed.
While observing the eclipse, I also watched Nick James's Youtube broadcast of the event from Chelmsford. Dense cloud obscured Nick's view during mid-eclipse, but eventually the sky cleared. Unfortunately, the clearing did not arrive in Ipswich before the eclipse ended.
Fujifilm "point and shoot" camera looking through eclipse viewers at 11.48am BST.
On the morning of the eclipse, I awoke to a beautiful blue sky in Chelmsford. Following breakfast, I positioned my seat and camera on the lawn to await the beginning of the eclipse. As the start time drew near, I noted increasing cloud approaching the position of the Sun. For the following 30 minutes, light cloud continued to drift around the Sun (as can be seen on the first three images below). By 10.45, cloud coverage was increasing, both in area and density, and I had time for a shot through the cloud, without filter (centre image), before the sun disappeared for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, due to the cloud, I missed maximum eclipse. Suddenly, blue sky reappeared, and lasted for a very limited period, during which I captured two more images, before total cloud cover returned. The cloud lifted an hour later to allow a finishing shot.
Equipment: Canon 11D camera with 400mm lens. Filtered views: f/6.3, ISO 400, 1/250 s exposure. Central (non-filtered view): f/22, ISO 400, 1/3200 s exposure. Image timings (BST), bottom-left to top-right: 10:10, 10:13, 10:37, 10:56, 11:16, 11:18 and 12:24.
The morning of the eclipse started with a clear sky so I was up early to set up my gear and capture some early morning events on the solar disk. I hoped that it would stay clear long enough to see the complete eclipse, but the forecast was for clouds and, indeed, my viewing of the event was curtailed by cloud. Below is a selection of my images.
Below is an animation of the eclipse itself comprising 62 frames taken between 09:10 and 10:04 UT with a 30 s inter-frame gap. Some frames have been deleted as the Sun was obscured by cloud. Equipment as above, minus Barlow lens.
I saw the eclipse from Hungerford through gaps in the cloud. Unfortunately, an error in operating the camera meant that I captured no good images.
The sky was cloudless, but maximum obscuration of the Sun was only 11%.
Camera with 500 mm mirror lens and solar filter. I was clouded out completely at maximum eclipse.
See Fred Espenak's eclipse web site eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html
Nigel Evans, Andy Gibbs, John Hughes, Adam Honeybell, Sue & Olaf Kirchner,
Paul Whiting, FRAS