Friday, March 20, 2015

Solar eclipse seen from Lincolnshire

click photo to enlarge
I can remember precisely when I first heard the word "confluence". I must have been about 13 years of age, sitting in a geography lesson, when the teacher used the word to describe the meeting and joining together of two streams or rivers into one. Over the past several days I've thought about that word, not in the geographical sense, but as a metaphor. Why? Well, several activities that I'm involved with have come together into a stream of work, all with approximately the same end date, forcing me to drastically curtail my photography in order to complete everything satisfactorily. Apart from the essentials of day-to-day existence, such as shopping for food, I've been focused on these activities to the exclusion of all else.

With one exception. Today, the sky being relatively clear, I set up my bird-watching telescope in anticipation of the coming solar eclipse. I read that at about 9.30am the eclipse in my part of Lincolnshire would achieve about 85% coverage of the sun's surface. So, at about 9.00am I set up a piece of white card, pointed the telescope at the sun, and began projecting the image of the partial eclipse.

I've done this before with eclipses, particularly when my children were young. I find it's by far the best way to safely view this phenomenon without risking damage to your eye. There are two disadvantages: firstly the image is inverted, and secondly and it's quite tricky to find the sun and keep it aligned and focused because you have to move the telescope in the opposite direction to the one you think is required. The revolving earth causing the image to drift out of view is a relatively minor problem. Interestingly, for about half the time I was projecting the sun's image a prominent sunspot was visible. I stopped at the point of maximum coverage (main photograph) because we had other things to do, but a neighbour came round to enjoy the experience and I was glad I'd taken the time to record the event.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 28.8mm (78mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  - 0.3EV
Image Stabilisation: On