20 March 2015

Eclipse

A partial eclipse of the sun was predicted for today and indeed it happened. Here in Sheffield we had 90% coverage - with just a thin smiley sliver of the sun left behind as the moon moved across the great fiery orb on which our lives depend.

The weather forecast had been promising but as it turned out, our city languished under a blanket of cloud with only occasional breaks in that greyness. On the television, we had tantalising wobbly live coverage of the eclipse as an aeroplane chartered by the BBC flew over the Faroe Islands.

Back in 1999 when we experienced a total eclipse of the sun in south western England, I was all set to drive Ian and Frances down to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall to witness it but cancelled the crazy mission at the last minute because of an unpromising weather forecast. 
This morning, as optimum coverage approached, I went out into our garden and hoped for the best. If the sky had been clear and blue there is no way I would have been able to take any photos of the moon crossing the sun but as the cloud blanket thinned a little I was able to snap the shots that accompany this post. 

It will be eleven years till we next experience any kind of eclipse in Great Britain and I may well not be here then. Astronomers calculate that there'll be one in America in 2017 but of course our ancestors of long ago  never had any idea when they would happen or what if anything they might mean:
“These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend
no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can
reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
scourged by the sequent effects: love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son
and father. 
William Shakesperare - "King Lear" (1606)

21 comments:

  1. I will always remember the experience of witnessing the total solar eclipse in Far North Queensland a few years ago ~ to experience that total blackout for even a few minutes was very eerie ~ we certainly depend on that Sun for more than warmth. It was surreal.

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    1. I am a little envious that you got to see an eclipse properly Carol.

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  2. That last photo is a real corker!

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  3. "I may well be not here then " ? ? ? Why where are you going ?

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  4. Glad you managed a glimpse.

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  5. Coverage here over the south of Germany wasn't as spectacular; the light changed a bit, not much different from any windy day when clouds are blown across every now and then. The birds didn't mind at all, and I simply kept cleaning my windows (they've been in need of that for months), interrupting a few times to take pictures of the sun without actually looking at it myself. I doubt my pictures will be anywhere near as great as yours!
    The 1999 eclipse was much more impressive. The light became all grey and strange, not like darkness at night, the birds went all silent, and the temperature dropped perceptibly.

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    1. Dirty windows? I am shocked Miss A! It is important to keep up high standards when you work for the Yorkshire diplomatic service!

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  6. "Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that thou, her maid, I mean manservant, art far more fair than she." William Shakespeare - "Romeo and Juliet" (1597)

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    1. Thank you for reminding me of that Professor Brague.

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  7. I would never have known anything was happening at all, if it hadn't been for facebook covered with photos of black clouds this morning! Of course the eclipse ended as soon as the clouds rolled away and the sun came out. It's been a glorious day ever since.

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    1. JR - you must live in a bubble if you hadn't heard any of the eclipse hype! Only eleven years till the next one in Britain. I bet it will be cloudy then too!

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  8. We saw b****r all in London - thick cloud everywhere - it didn't even get dark!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by ADDY. Maybe you should move "Up North" ready for the next eclipse. Rents are much, much cheaper as are house prices. It would be a new start for you.

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  9. There is no guarantee with eclipses. You made the best of a bad situation.

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    1. Thank you Red. When I ventured into my garden with the camera I had little hope of capturing the eclipse at all.

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  10. The sun didn't get much of a chance here today...we've had rain most of the day...and now, tonight the sun has gone to bed but the rain has stuck around. :)

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    1. Gold Coast, Australia - average annual rainfall = 1400mm
      Sheffield, England - annual rainfall = 835mm
      This means that Gold Coast gets 565mm more rain a year than Sheffield.
      Interesting facts.

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    2. The way our rain falls YP, that's only about two weeks of rain and it's all over with for the year.

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