It was about 2 weeks ago that I first heard there was to be an eclipse visible from my home in Edinburgh. Oh the excitement! However, I had far too much to do with chicken pox and preparing for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (a post about those to come if I get around to finishing it!) and so the sum total of my preparations was to check that the nursery was aware of it and would do something. I confess, I did consider having Katja home for the day to view it but again the chicken pox thing and a rare, brief moment of rational thinking stopped me.
I assumed I would be able to get eclipse glasses, but a check on amazon/ebay plus a number of tweets from various people wondering where they could be sourced showed that this was not to be so this morning I found an inner tube from some kitchen roll and made myself a pin-hole camera.
As I started to get Elisa ready for a trip out I realised that I had a prime viewing location right in my front room – bonus! This meant that instead of trying to sneak peeks while watching an 11 month old in the playground I’d be able to enlist the support of CBeeBees.
So everything in place I started to watch. This is when I found out how utter crap a tube and piece of card is for viewing an eclipse. Seriously, I got a blurred bit of light and nothing discernable. I modified my “camera” but that didn’t help. The problem is always going to be the difference in angle of the viewing surface and the camera “lens”. So back to the drawing board.
I managed to come up with this – a cereal box with the ends taped up (some foil to stop light getting in the ends), a ruddy great hole in the side and a pin pierced through near the top. Hold with the pinhole facing the sun and look through the hole in the side and you know, this worked rather well. Next time I’ll have less of a hole in the side.
So, that’s how I could watch the eclipse. To be honest you do get a better view watching online through one of the observatory feeds, but there’s a charm in do it yourself.
Even better was watching the phenomenon of the shadows lengthening, the room going dark, the sharp drop in temperature, and seeing all of the people gathered in the park below. Dogs seemed to suddenly want to stay close to their owners, birds seemed confused. There were contrails from all of the watching planes overhead and Elisa got very very cuddly (although to be fair, she has been lately anyway thanks to her first tooth appearing two days ago).
At the time of maximum eclipse we had quite a bit of cloud cover – the bonus to this being that you could look directly at the sun and see the crescent shape without hurting your eyes. Of course as the clouds thin a bit you need to look away, but oh my what a magical sight!
Anyway, a few pics of the event. The next total I’ll likely be able to get to isn’t for another 10 years – best get planning then!