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Solar Eclipse 2015

The group prepares

On 20th March 2015, England experienced its most complete solar eclipse since 1999, and its most complete for decades to come, with the Moon covering almost 90% of the Solar disk.

With the eclipse starting at 8.25AM GMT, peaking at 9.31, and ending at 10.40, being in place to witness the whole event meant an early start for the Warwick University Astronomy Group.

Armed with telescopes, binoculars, home-made pin-hole cameras, solar glasses and the odd colander, we decamped to the Koan, outside Warwick Arts Centre, in order to share the experience with as many as possible.



Dave prepares

Upmost in our minds was safety, and we made strenuous efforts to ensure everyone was equipped with safe viewing equipment - including our own students. As always, we were keen to spread the important advice: never look directly at the Sun!


While our student Dave (left) may have taken this to extremes, it's always best to be prepared. In case you're wondering, the colander acts as a series of pinholes, projecting an entire array of crescent suns onto the floor beneath it.

At first though, it seemed we wouldn't get an opportunity to use our tools (or toys!). Clouds were looming ominously overhead, and there seemed little chance we'd see the eclipse itself.




Simon projects the eclipse

While the day started out overcast, we were fortunate that the skies cleared and we had a glorious morning for observing the eclipse. The sunshine and sheer curiosity drew crowds out to our site near the Koan, ranging from school-age children, through students up to university staff and visitors. Many were able to see the incomplete Solar disk projected through our telescopes, binoculars or the pin-hole cameras. Many others also had the chance to view the eclipse through protective glasses brought along by members of the group and circulated through the crowd, so everyone possible was able to enjoy the experience.



Crowds

Eclipse viewing




Members of the group had a great time, from first setting up to the final moments of the eclipse, when we gathered around with the last few loyal guests to watch the Sun returned to its full glory.

 

Greg watching the eclipse

 

 

All in all, a great time was had, and we were delighted that others seem to have enjoyed it as much as we did!

Judging by the reactions we saw on twitter, we weren't the only ones having fun - and it was our pleasure to help out.


Warwick insite tweet