Partial Solar Eclipse 20th March 2015 – A Successful Viewing!

On the 11th August 1999, under clear skies, Chesterfield witnessed a dramatic partial eclipse, when 90% of the Sun was covered by the Moon.

15 years later Members of the Chesterfield Astronomical Society eagerly awaited another equally magnificent eclipse. We had two members either on or near the Faroe Isles, hoping to see the eclipse as total (the track of totality swept up the Atlantic, past the west coast of Ireland and Scotland, and then over the Faroe Isles). One ex-member who had recently moved to Austria, was readying his scope for solar observing and had invited the local primary school pupils and teachers round to witness a 50% eclipse with him.

Back in sunny Chesterfield, as the time approached for first contact, things weren’t looking too promising. The clear skies were gradually giving way to cloud from the west. Chesterfield AS, in conjunction with the BBC’s STARGAZING LIVE, had invited the public to visit the observatory to witness the eclipse. About 30-40 visitors of all ages turned up.

Viewing Area

By about 8.25am the Sun was totally obscured by cloud. However a few minutes later, one or two little gaps opened up to allow the sun to be seen through thin cloud, with a small dent visible in its otherwise perfect circle. The eclipse had begun!

For the next couple of hours, visitors and members alike watched the eclipse progress through the thin cloud, from a small dent, to the deepest and most complete solar eclipse seen from Chesterfield since 1999, and then open out again as the Moon moved off the face of The Sun. No-one present was disappointed.

Here are some photos of that morning:

Pete’s photos – Chesterfield

Pete's Photos

Rob’s photos – Chesterfield

Rob's Photos

Geoff’s photos – South Anston

Geoff's Photos

Mario’s photos – Austria

Mario's Photos

Graham’s photos – Faroe Isles

Graham's Photos

If you’d like to learn more about eclipses and how to view/photograph them then please feel free to pop over to the observatory any Friday evening and have a chat with our society members.

Here are some additional photos taken aboard the cruise ship Voyager that was was following the sun at around 170 nautical miles north west of the Faroe Islands:

From Doug Wardle, Stoke on Trent

Doug's Photos

Prof Ian Morison’s Photos

Ian's Photos

All photos have been published with permisision and with our thanks. All rights reserved by the owners.

Stargazing Live Events 2015

This March Chesterfield Astronomical Society joined the BBC’s Stargazing Live campaign and opened its doors to the public on three consecutive evenings (18th, 19th and 20th) and the Eclipse morning on the 20th.

During the evening events, members gave talks about the night sky and the eclipse, and Jupiter and its four Galilean moons were visible through the Society’s telescopes. Some visitors brought their own scopes up for advice on setting up, which our members are always pleased to assist with.

The main event of the Stargazing Live “season” was the Solar Eclipse, with some Society members watching it overseas, and other members inviting the public to join them to witness it from The Barnett Observatory (see main article)

All in all, the visitors donated over £140 to the Society during those three days, for which we are all extremely grateful.