May 31st, 2003


Total eclipse of the cloud

Have been to bed. Couldn't get to sleep.

The family all managed to independently get up at 4:30am, local time, in order to see the alleged annular eclipse. Very overcast indeed here, plus a horizon full of houses in the appropriate direction, led to a conclusion of "not a sausage" - in fact, a completely banger-free zone.

BBC News 24 had live coverage from the Orkneys, managed to catch two five-second glimpses of about one radian of the eclipse through breaks in the clouds and declared it a total success.

By contrast, Sky News were at Dunnet Head where all that could be seen was dense fog. They did have two amateur astronomers, though, one cheerful East German who had a "seen it all, done it all" attitude and blew off the pea soup by paying compliments to the local scenery; the other looked remarkably similar to The Fast Show's Unlucky Alf and was so grumpy at seeing nothing that he couldn't finish his sentences. The Sky News interviewer pushed on cheerfully regardless from beneath her extremely evident cloud of doom. ITN News had a big black screen.

Kind of glad that we heeded the "there's only a 1 in 3 chance of being able to see anything" warnings and didn't make the trip up to the North ourselves in the end; back to bed now. Hopefully there might be some better pictures from Iceland or the Faroe Islands before long, though I thought it wouldn't have been too much to expect in this day and age that the BBC might have been able to feature them live.

EDIT: Spoke too soon. (Original posted at c. 5:10, this posted at c. 5:30.) Clouds cleared a bit. Saw a very red moon, which definitely did not look completely circular from the upstairs window. (Hmm - an Astronomy Tower would've come in very handy here.) :-) Wasn't prepared with a filter, a pinhole lens or anything, so haven't got any decent photos, but I did stick a coat over my pyjamas, run a couple of hundred yards down the road and take this. It's not at all good, so I say it has a lifespan of about a week before I remove it from my webspace but it's a photo of the morning sun. Not a spectacular result, but definitely better than nothing and a happy ending - mostly for the chance to run around the local streets wearing only pyjamas and coat at 5:14am. Maybe I'll get to sleep now. :-)

Appropriately enough, happy birthday for today to moonstruck4rjl. :-)
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    Hoots mon, it's a braw bricht m00nlicht nicht... not


Is it just me or has the WPC online qualifying test site gone down just the minute when the password is scheduled to be released?

Hey ho, had to happen one of these years and us hitting F5 every five seconds cannot help.

I will be much cheered if figuring out the password turns out to be the first puzzle, which I have flunked - which we have might all have flunked.

While I'm waiting, and while I remember; Londoners, Uncle Roy All Around You. This week. Wednesday to Sunday. Yes.
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    me smashing the refresh buttons