transit My Partial Eclipse of the Sun, 24 Nov 2003 transit


The eclipse of Monday, November 24 2003 was total in Antarctica. Despite some spectacular groveling, the ABC declined to fund an expedition to the white wilderness to report on it. Instead, I was forced to watch the partial eclipse form Adelaide. Images from Australias' Antarctic stations are to be found in the links section.

The weather had been awful over the past two days, so I was rather pesimistic about my chances of seeing the eclipse. Despite heavy cloud the might before, the day dawned fairly clearly, with intermittent cloud. So I excitedly set up my telecope.

I used two methods to follow the eclipse. My 4" reflector with a solar aperture filter, and pinhole projection. I was going to use telescope projection with my 50 mm refractor as well, but dealing with the new baby meant that a) I didn't get to set up the projection system and b) I forgot to bring home my other camera from work in the first place. I used the telescope to take the pictures you see below. The pinhole projection was reasonably successful, given I was using a last minute bodge up, as you guessed it, the more fancy cardboard tube had got left at work. My son and I also used our hands to make cresent shadows on the wall, but as my other camera was at work, and the Pentax was set up on the telescope, I couldn't take photos of this either.

The eclipse was well underway by the time the Sun came up over my neighbours roof at 7:45 am. The giant Sunspot groups 486 and 488 were easily visible in the telescope, but not possible to see in the bodged-up pinhole projection system. Active group 484, responisble for an aurora a few days ago, was also visible. Sunspot group 486 is larger than Jupiter and was responsible for a massive geomagnetic storm and aurora two weeks ago. My observation of the eclipse was sporadic due to intermitent cloud covering the Sun, and the need to get my son ready for school. I was only able to get 4 decent shots between the clouds (three are shown below), but I was able to follow the progression of the Moon across the Sun reasobably well, and watch sunspot group 488 get covered. I eventually packed it in at 8:39 am. Using pinhole projection there was still a significant chip out of the Sun when I drove my son to school. All in all a highly satisfactory partial eclipse, even with the cloud.

7:45 am ACDST, 10 minutes into the eclipse, after the Sun cleared the neighbours house. Despite the cloud, sunspot groups 484, (bottom) 486 (middle). 488 (left) can be clearly seen 8:13 am ACDST, Mid eclipse, sunspot group 488 is almost covered. 8:39 am ACDST, Post mid eclipse, sunspot goup 488 is completely covered.

Technical guff. The eclipse was photographed on Kodak CMAX 400 colour print film via 2x Barlow projection (no-name Barlow lens) and a Pentax KM SLR camera body with T adaptor. The solar filter was a full apature Identi-View SVD 4.5 filter from Astro-Optical Supplies (thanks) fitted to a York Optical Skyrover 114 mm Newtonian reflector. Exposures were 1/60 - 1/30 of a second. Images were scanned at 600 dpi using an Olympic Technology scanner, and cropped with Photoshop.


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Created: Monday, 24 November 2003, 11:22:32
Last Updated: Monday, 24 November 2003, 11:22:32