IMAGES OF THE MAY 2003 ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE OBSERVED FROM SUTHERLAND, SCOTLAND

BRYN JONES



Observations from Port Vasgo, near Talmine, Sutherland

The pictures on this page of the 31st May, 2003, solar eclipse were taken from Port Vasgo near Talmine at the mouth of the Kyle of Tongue on the north coast of Scotland. The eclipse was annular from this site, but the event took place in the early morning, soon after sunrise. A band of low cloud along the northern horizon covered the Sun during the annular phase and the annular eclipse itself was not seen. The Sun began to appear through the cloud two or three mintutes after the end of the annular phase, first showing itself as a faint, narrow, pink arc.

Some imaging was possible. Initially the cloud was so great a problem that the first pictures were taken with a video camera without a filter. These produced the small video stills shown below.

The Sun rose above the cloud and later it was possible to record images through a telescope using a digital still camera, protected by a solar filter in front of the telescope. This produced the larger pictures of the later stages of the eclipse at the bottom of the page.

The University of Nottingham Eclipse Expedition consisted of Aaron Romanowsky and Bryn Jones (both astronomers in the School of Physics and Astronomy), Sygal Amitay (MRC Institute of Hearing Research) and Ben Andreo (Department of French).



Cloud during the annular phase of the 2003 eclipse

The view across Port Vasgo bay in the direction of the Sun at the time of the annular phase. The cloud obscured the Sun completely.



The annular phase was completely hidden by the cloud along the northern horizon. A pink glow could be seen in the cloud a degree or two above the position of the Sun. The sky overhead, however, was clear. There was a distinct loss of daylight: the amount of light from the sky was similar to what it had been in twilight about 10 to 15 minutes before sunrise.

The Sun began to break through the cloud two or three minutes after the end of the annular phase. Initially, very faintly, we saw an extremely slender arc of the partially eclipsed Sun, just the upper segment of the uneclipsed part of the Sun. The arc grew into a whole crescent, but was still badly affected by cloud.



Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse    Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse

The Sun appearing through the cloud minutes after the end of the annular phase.
Digital still images captured with an unfiltered video camera using a 20X optical zoom.



Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse

The partially eclipsed Sun seen through thin cloud above Port Vasgo bay.
Image taken with an unfiltered digital camera with a 3X optical zoom.



Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse    Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse

The Moon slowly draws back, again seen through thin cloud.
Digital still images captured with an unfiltered video camera using a 20X optical zoom.
The Sun was too faint to image through a filter because of the thin cloud.



The original intention had been to attempt imaging the eclipse through a 102mm diameter telescope protected by a solar filter. The cloud, however, was so thick during the first half of the eclipse that the Sun could barely be seen through the telescope equipped with the filter. Imaging through the telescope only became possible after the Sun had climbed further above the cloud layer.



Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse

Later in the partial phase of the eclipse. Despite some cloud, one sunspot group can be seen to the right.
Image recorded with a digital camera through a 102mm aperture, 500mm focal length telescope
with a barlow lens and eyepiece, protected by a solar filter in front of the telescope aperture.


Partial phase of the 2003 eclipse

The end of the eclipse. Three sunspot groups can be seen.
Image recorded with a digital camera through a 102mm aperture telescope protected by a solar filter.




The 2003 annular eclipse: the background

The annular phase of the eclipse was visible from the north of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland, from the Faroe islands, from Iceland and from central parts of Greenland. The annular eclipse occurred soon after sunrise, which meant that the remaining narrow ring of the Sun would have been reddened by the Earth's atmosphere to give it an orange-red colour: this is often called a ring of fire.

For further details of the background to the eclipse, see these websites and resources:

For details of observations of the eclipse see:



Other eclipse pages

Other eclipse pages at this website are:






 

   
This page was created and is maintained by Bryn Jones.   E-mail: bryn.jones.email@gmail.com .
WWW home page: http://www.jonesbryn.plus.com/ .
It was first created at a different address in June 2003.
It was last modified on 25th August, 2008.
URL of this page: http://www.jonesbryn.plus.com/astrophenom/eclipse2003/ .
This page replaced in August 2008 the old page http://brynjones.members.beeb.net/astrophenom/eclipse2003/ .   An archived copy of the old page is available here.