20 years ago today

Forums General Discussion 20 years ago today

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    stan armstrong

    On a wet Midsummers day, some BAA Members could warm themselves up and

    think back 20 years, to when they and many Council Members

    watched and made records of the First Total Solar Eclipse of this Century.

    I have now rescued some of my video recordings, from a ‘BSOD Dump’,

    which was a feature of the short lived ‘Windows Millennium’ system,

    which was replaced in Oct of that year.

    I enjoy the Solitude of such events and had ambled away from the Main 

    Site to the Bridge across the River about half a mile away.

    After the Final Diamond Ring,

    I took this long distance Still Shot of the Site

    showing the hundreds of travellers from the UK.

    In passing, that Bridge was a lot more substantial than those that DocJon had taken us over,

    after meeting us and saying he knew a Short-Cut from Capetown..

    Under this Bridge.

    which John was assuring us was quite safe!  was a 400ft sheer drop to a water filled gorge.

    A week later, we arrived in Harare.. with an unanswered question..

    “Did we really eat Ostrich?”

    stan armstrong

    Peter Anderson

    A few images, partial viewing, the eclipse, and afterwards

    Steve Holmes

    Yes, after a near miss in Cherbourg in 1999 I was in Africa too – in a field full of maize stubble just off the Great North Road out of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. My equipment was a Minolta 7000i SLR 35mm film camera (remember those?) fitted with a 600mm mirror lens plus x2 doubler and loaded with 400ASA slide film. A home-made solar filter constructed from one (mylar) lens of a pair of eclipse specs was inserted into the focal point filter-holder of the mirror lens – not quite sure how it failed to melt! – and this lot was mounted on a standard alt-az photographic tripod weighted against the wind by a thermos flask of water tied to the tripod head with a piece of string! Finding the Sun was very difficult (small field of view and no finder) and even when it swam into view the tripod’s elevation clamp was not quite strong enough to hold the extra weight and so a degree of “droop” had to be allowed for. The fact that I was able to get quite a reasonable set of images was thus little short of a miracle! Here’s a few:-

    The tour group sits in the shade, watching the early partial phase through eclipse specs.

    The crescent Sun, as viewed through the mylar filter somewhat before totality, presages things to come!

    Baily’s Beads shine out between the lunar mountains.

    As totality arrives, the inner corona becomes visible together with more prominences.

    A composite of eight pictures shows the delicate beauty of the full corona.

    The beginning of the end: the chromosphere is briefly visible as the Sun’s brightness re-appears.

    As the Moon retreats, sunspots are revealed (again through the filter).

    I was actually rather pleased with my efforts, given the circumstances. Not quite such a struggle these days, what with digital imaging and stable EQ tripods, but “doing it the hard way” was certainly a good learning experience!

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