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
1999 ..... and ..... Zimbabwe
the Sun ...