Solar Eclipse 2003 May 31

The first solar eclipse of 2003 occurred on May 31. Due to the dynamics of the moon's orbit this eclipse occurred near apogee when the lunar disk was not large enough to cover the sun and the eclipse was therefore "annular". The path of annularity crossed the northern Atlantic, Iceland, the north of Scotland, the Orkneys and Shetland - weather permitting, at maximum eclipse the sun/moon would appear as a "ring of fire" in the sky with almost 97% of the sun covered. It was always going to be a difficult to observe annularity because of the low elevation and the requirement for a very clear and unobstructed sea horizon to the north east. We almost did it! Here is my report.


AFA Members and others waiting patiently for the sun-moon to rise above the sea fog. 
~03:55UT; about nine minutes after maximum, the sun-moon are rising through the mist; 1000mm lens combination at f/16 - no filter.
~03:57UT; the sun-moon are almost risen imparting beautifully warm tones to the mist; 1000mm lens combination at f/16 - no filter.
04:01UT; a wonderful sight seen through thinning mist; 1000mm lens combination at f/16 - no filter.
04:15UT; the eclipse illuminating streaky clouds. No filter was used as the cloud/mist acted as an effective filter. Note the sunspot group at 3 o'clock.
04:42UT; two minutes to 4th contact. Note the two sunspot groups. ND5 filter in front of a 1000mm lens combination at f/16, 1/8s exposure.
Some observers stayed up all night to view the eclipse, here sharing their impressions of the spectacle in progress.


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