Annular Solar Eclipse May 31st 2003


The rare annular eclipse which occurs when the moon is too near to the earth to cover the solar disc completely was set to occur on the 31st May from a small portion of Scotland. Whilst the longest views were expected to be from the north coast, I chose to try and observe from a lower region as I though the weather prospects were better. Annularity would last for approximately one minute here, but that would be long enough. With that in mind I set up the usual toys for my eclipse trips. Video walkman, video camera, an zoom lens and headed for a peninsular at Burghead, a small coastal port between Lossiemouth and Inverness on the Moray Forth.

Having found a suitable campsite run by a helpful lady called Helen, and a cracking little pub called the Harbour Inn - nice one Grant - I did a little surveying for the following day. I was lucky enough to be able to park on the head outside a house - many thanks Nicola, most helpful, and set the gear up at about 3am that day. Nicola was even kind enough to come out at 04.30 with a cup of tea for me. That caused soem amusement with the others :-)

The dawn slowly came, but we were frustrated by low cloud on the horizon, and about a minute after annularity, part of the crescent was seen through the cloud. We managed to follow the event all the way to conclusion, and had a wonderful view.

The site I chose appeared to have been a good choice, as I was joined by about 40 othrs from the Elgin astro soc, and a guy who I had met at Thetford the year before.

All set as the eclipsed sun rises over the Moray Firth.


A couple of shots of the sun rising over the water, a splendid site. Below is a series of images taken at regular intervals to give an idea of the progression of the eclipse. The initial images did not use a filter as the cloud was thick enough to act as a filter itself. As the sun rose I did employ a 1000 Oaks filter for the latter partial stages.



Whilst not the most spectacular event when compared to a total eclipse it was still quite a site, and well worth the effort.


The links to the actual Total Solar Eclipse events are below

Bucharesti 1999 ..... and ..... Zimbabwe 2001

Solar obervations

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