Derby and District Astronomical Society

A Fried Breakfast and an Eclipse
by Chris Newsome

What do you do while you are waiting for an early morning eclipse? Simple! Get a lovely fried breakfast down your neck! Which is exactly what happened on the morning of 1st August 2008 when the weather looked hopefully promising in Derby to watch a partial eclipse of the Sun, while others around the world would see a total eclipse. I finished night shift at 07:00hrs and was home by 07:10hrs and a short time later, I was joined by Adrian Brown to observe the event. I had seen a partial eclipse a few times before but it was the first time for Adrian. So after the scopes were set up, it was time for the fried breakfast!


Credit: Chris Newsome

The weather was windy and as time progressed a lot of cloud blew in from the south west. Was it going to be a repeat performance of the 1999 Eclipse? We waited hopefully for those elusive breaks in the cloud...


Credit: Chris Newsome

The telescopes that had been set up were my Celestron C8-NGT with a Canon 400D attached and the societyís Meade LX90 with a solar filter attached to watch the eclipse visually and allow Adrian to take some afocal shots of the eclipse.


Credit: Adrian Brown

The eclipse started and it wasnít until about 10 minutes after first contact that we got our first view of a bit missing from the sun's disc through the telescope.


Credit: Chris Newsome



Credit: Adrian Brown

By now the clouds were rolling in again thick and fast. Whenever we could see a break in the clouds, by the time it had got to the part of the sky where the main event was, clouds had bubbled up in the gap blocking our view. So it was time to take the Canon off of the C8-NGT and put a 200mm lens on it and image the eclipse using natureís own solar filter, namely the clouds.


Credit: Chris Newsome

This was the chosen method of imaging for the rest of our view of eclipse and with the camera set to multi-shot, I fired off what sounded like a hail of machine gun bullets but was in fact the camera shutter on rapid fire. Our last glimpse of the partially eclipsed sun happened about 10 minutes from the end of the event.


Credit: Chris Newsome

During the long breaks between seeing the eclipse we did manage to get our inventing heads on and, in the wake of the new DDAS inclement weather filter highlighted at our attendance at the 2008 Cancer Relay For Life, we decided to produce one for night time viewing as well!


Credit: Adrian Brown

...and, while we were at it, I demonstrated the new portable solar observatory, especially useful for close up monitoring of the computer...


Credit: Adrian Brown

Trust me! It works!

Shame I didnít have the money to travel half way round the world to see totality...maybe next time.


Chris Newsome






Chris and Adrian were not the only DDAS members observing and photographing the partial eclipse of 1st August 2008. Mike Dumelow observed the eclipse projected onto a piece of white card:



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