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Monday, January 26, 2009


Not Really Live Blogging The Australia Day Eclipse

Definitely not live blogged this eclipse. Everything happened around diner time, then there was getting ready for SmallestOnes first day at School tomorrow, and watching "Serenity" while doing the dishes, so I couldn't write about things more-or-less when they happened. But this is the order things happened in.

6:30 pm (ACDST): Get scope set up. I am using the 4" scope, rather than the 8", because my only solar filter is for the 4" tube. Decide to not set up a projection scope due to the shallowness of the eclipse, and the fact that so much else is going on.

7:05 pm: Get out late due to dinner, faf around trying to set the scope lined up with the Sun (can't use the finder scope, as this will burn my eye out), fiddle scope around so that it's shadow is minimised, this should have it pointing directly at the Sun, or would have if I hadn't had the scope aligned pointing directly at a large wall (slaps forehead). Realign scope, see large chip taken out of Sun. Take images with Canon IXUS and mobile phone directly though lens.

7:20 pm: Chunk of Sun missing larger, and sliding around edge of Sun. The Sun's disk is spotless, making the view even more stark. Take some more shots. Boys come out to have a look at the chip out of the Sun. Then back in to deal with SmallestOnes School orientation report.

7:29 pm: Eclipse maximum, despite being at only 10% covered, the dark bite form the Sun looks impressive. MiddleOne takes another look. The edge of the Sun roils in the heat haze as it come closer to the horizon.

7:40 pm: Moons edge growing smaller and moving "up" the Sun's disk. Relocate the scope to avoid Sun going down behind house.

7:45 pm: Sun disappears behind roofs, still notched with the receding Moon.

That was a pretty good way to spend the afternoon of Australia Day. Despite being a fairly weak partial eclipse, it still looked amazing! Folks up north and to the west will have had much better views. To round a great day off, as I snuck out from the washing up for a quick gander at the Australia Day fireworks, I could see the reflection of Venus in the sea, a rather rare sight. Fantastic!

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Nice report with good pictures! We had pretty the same situation in Europe in the start of August.
What! No Sunspots?! We're doomed!

Nice pics Ian.
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