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Total eclipse of the cloud - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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May 31st, 2003


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04:59 am - 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. :-)
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Hoots mon, it's a braw bricht m00nlicht nicht... not

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[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:May 30th, 2003 10:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Might be something to do with why I'm having difficulty getting to sleep. :-) I won't say that our proximity to the North Pole never does anything for us!

Incidentally, I referred in my article to "a very red moon". I meant a very red sun. Particularly easy to get the two confused on a night like this, but the sun is the big shiny thing and the moon is the big reflecty thing (well, the big blocking-outy thing at the moment).

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