Solar Eclipse, 20th March 2015 at the Scottish Parliament

Large crowds gathered outside the Parliament to view the eclipse, with some help from ASE members.

Large crowds gathered outside the Parliament to view the eclipse in largely sunny skies, with some help from ASE members.  Photo credit: Rachel Thomas

We had a fantastic time at the Scottish Parliament this morning! A solar eclipse doesn’t come along all that often and it was great to share this one with members of the Society, local school children, members of staff and several hundred members of the public. My weather forecast from yesterday predicted 90% cloud cover, so I was delighted, when we set off at 7.00 am, that I had to put down the sun-visor in the car!

Various telescopes with the appropriate filters were set up to enable members of the public to share this fantastic experience with us.

Various telescopes with the appropriate filters were set up to enable members of the public to safely share this fantastic experience with us.  Photo credit: Rachel Thomas

I gave a talk to school-children from James Gillespie’s High School and members of staff, while Seán talked to Holyrood Primary School children. The Parliament staff were brilliant! Everything was laid on for us and they had large plasma screens set up inside streaming live images from the Faroes and the BBC’s airborne ‘observatory’, so the children missed nothing.

The public were very enthusiastic and most had solar viewers or pin hole projection systems to allow them to watch throughout the eclipse.

The public were very enthusiastic and most had solar viewers or pin hole projection systems to allow them to watch the progress of the moon throughout the eclipse.  Photo credit: Alan Ellis

Meanwhile outside, our band of around 14 volunteers manned the Society’s solar telescope, 6 ‘white-light’ telescopes, binoculars and a solar projection set up. As the crowds gathered, there was great excitement as the shadow bit into the Sun. Other members of the Society arrived during the morning to lend their support and enjoy the spectacle. Some cloud blew in as the maximum approached, but it didn’t dampen spirits at all.

A very happy band of ASE members post-eclipse, glad to have shared such a special experience with so many people.

A very happy band of ASE members post-eclipse, glad to have shared such a special experience with so many people.  Photo credit: Rachel Thomas

The Parliament put together a video record of the morning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8rNj9S2G_4 – which very nicely summed up the general feeling of excitement and enjoyment of what was a truly memorable day.

Ken Thomas

Ken is the Society’s current President and also leads the Imaging Group.  He can be seen being interviewed in the video above, explaining what made this such a special experience.
Our thanks go to the Scottish Parliament for hosting this event, and for all their assistance up to and during the event.  Thank you as well to all the ASE members who came along to support this event – we couldn’t do this without you!
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Posted on 20/03/2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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