2015 Eclipses

What a year for Eclipses!
We’ve had a Solar Eclipse and a Lunar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Friday 20th March 2015
The Moon passed between Sun and Earth causing the Sun to be gradually covered over and blocked out with a resulting dark shadow on the Earth during the day.

Lunar Eclipse Monday 28th Sept. 2015
The Earth and Moon gradually moved into a position where the sunlight falling on the Moon was blocked by the Earth. The Full Moon darkened as the curved shadow of the Earth gradually moved over it but amazingly it didn’t go completely black! Instead it turned a beautiful orange/brown colour (viewed from The Gateshead Angel).

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Friday 20th March 2015 between 10.00 and 11.00AM

This pic of the eclipse was taken with a simple hand held digital camera focused on the tracing paper screen of a home made pinhole camera viewer.

The home made viewer was a little bit bigger than the normal cereal box viewers! It was made from two 2metre long cardboard carpet roll tubes joined together.
It has a tracing paper screen at the viewing end and a milk bottle top with a hole in it at the ‘pinhole’ end. A cardboard box and a curtain helped with the ‘blackout’.

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The tube was rather long so I had to lean it against the fence and manoeuvre it with a rope from a tree!

The sky was rather cloudy at first so it was very frustrating and I missed the beginning of the eclipse although it was possible to see where to point the viewer because of the brightness of the sky.

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At last the sky cleared, although remained hazy throughout the eclipse, and I took lots of photographs like this one. I like this one because you can see my reflection coincident with the sun and moon! It looks like my head has been replaced by the Sun!

Great weather for viewing an eclipse!!!!

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Lunar eclipse

Monday 28th Sept. 2015 between 2.00 and 5.00AM

These pics. of the Lunar Eclipse were taken with a simple hand held digital camera through the lens of a powerful telescope pointing South West to the Full Moon. The Moon was very low in the sky (about 30 degrees above the horizon) so I couldn’t see it from my garden. Instead I went to a fabulous location - the famous Gateshead Angel which sits on a hillside. It was a beautiful starry morning - a bit cold  though!

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The full Moon was a ‘Supermoon’. It was larger than we normally see it because it is closer to the Earth than usual and looks bigger.

This picture wasn’t taken by me. I slept in a bit and didn’t get the telescope set up until half way through the eclipse!

This picture shows the eclipse about halfway through (about 3.14am). You can see the curved shadow of the shape of the Earth crossing the middle of the Moon. The Moon was the usual colour you would expect - brilliant white with perhaps a feint blue shade to it. It looked spectacular.

Then, as the eclipse was almost full, the Moon slowly changed to an orange/brown colour and more of the moon became visible. This was very odd because it might have been expected that the Moon would completely disappear in the blackness of the shadow of the Earth. Where was the strange orange/brown light coming from?

The strange colour effect was caused by light from the Sun curving through the Atmosphere of the Earth and falling on the Moon. The atmosphere behaves like a cloudy lens because of the gas, moisture and dust particles it contains. The various colours of light from the Sun are affected differently by the lens and it is the red part of the spectrum which is filtered through and ends up falling on the Moon. The blueish part of the spectrum is blocked out, so with only reddish light shining on the Moon it takes on this lovely orange/brown colour.

Isn’t nature wonderful!

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