why I didn’t need Barack Obama to view the #eclipse2015

I hadn’t really twigged about the solar eclipse here in the UK until a few days ago. Rather late. Couldn’t find any special glasses easily – either expensive, out of stock or too-late-to-deliver online.  Found a ‘Sky at Night’ in the newsagent yesterday – but it was the next issue, not the one with the free glasses.

Bother.

Woke in early hours, thought about it briefly, felt frustrated and went back to sleep.

Dreamed.

As with many dreams, it didn’t seem to be my house and garden, but this didn’t strike me in the dream.  I just knew it was time to grab my colander and go view the eclipse. I was feeling very frustrated that I didn’t have any eclipse glasses. I knelt down on the concrete outside the-house-that-wasn’t-my-house and managed to get a tiny image of the sun projected onto a piece of card.  Then I looked up; there was a group of people, kitted out with eclipse glasses.  In fact, they seemed to have more than enough. One of them, strangely, seemed to be the American President.

I was pleased, but not overly startled, when Barack Obama came over to me and gave me a spare pair of glasses through which I could safely view the sun. I turned to look at the eclipse.

I woke up.

Was highly amused by this, so shared on Twitter (as you do).

Actually, it was far too cloudy to do the colander thing. Swathes of mist and cloud drifted across the sky.

So I went out into the chilly back garden, wearing one coat and folding another underneath me on the cold step, where I perched.

I got my camera, and manually focused it on the bright point in the clouds, when it was noticeable. When the clouds drifted and cover was less intense, I looked away from the revealed slip of sun and fired off a few shots, making my best attempt at aim. Then I looked at the resulting pictures.

That’s how I viewed the eclipse, getting colder by the minute in the odd hush that seemed to come with it. Just me and an agitated blackbird, who punctuated the silence with alarmed pip-pip-pipping. After a while, I noticed a surge in birdsong elsewhere, the baa-ing of a sheep somewhere over yonder, the roar of a plane that I couldn’t locate in the dull sky. It was certainly dull, but it amazes me how much light just a sliver of sun can make.

Actually, without the clouds, photographing it without a special filter (barring my usual UV and polarising filters) would have been much more difficult.

Additional bonus: I didn’t sit on my (actual) glasses, which I did during the 1999 eclipse. They were wonky for months, until I got replacements.

SONY DSC   

It was completely clouded over at the point of nearest totality, but I caught a glimpse of it after that point (you can see below that the moon’s bulk has now moved to the left of the sun). 

Anyway.  After 9.30am I went inside and made a cup of tea to warm myself up, while the sky gradually brightened.

Colander went unused.

How was your eclipse experience?

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