Partial eclipse had us all looking skywards

Trevor Rudkin sent us this picture of the eclipse from The Headlands
Trevor Rudkin sent us this picture of the eclipse from The Headlands

A spontaneous stargazing street party broke out in one Market Harborough street on Friday morning as people gathered to watch the partial solar eclipse.

Joggers, people rushing to work, and even a rag-and-bone man all pulled in to watch the eclipse drawing in over the town in Great Bowden Road at about 9.30am.

Great Bowden Road resident Andy Thomas, who sent us the pictures above, said: “One man showed me a photograph of the pinhole camera he’d built using a cardbox box in his back garden.

“The sun shone clearly through the trees in the churchyard.

“As it progressed, we found the light weakened, a chill breeze sprung from nowhere and the birds returned silently to the tree branches.”

For the photographers among you, Andy sent us these technical details. He used a Pentax K100D DSLR in manual mode with a 200mm lens, 1/3000 of a second at f22, fitted with a Hoya ND400 Solar Filter and a UV filter just for luck.

The UK will not experience a partial social eclipse on this scale again until 2026 and you will have to wait until 2090 for the next total eclipse.

The last time there was a partial eclipse visible in the UK was 16 years ago in 1999.

The design and science departments from Harborough’s Welland Park Academy organised safe viewing of the eclipse and related experiments for a group of students last Friday morning.

Pupils were invited to enter a draw by answering a space-related question – on which planet would you find Olympus Mons – for the opportunity to take part.

All other students at the school had the opportunity to watch a live feed of the eclipse in their classrooms, courtesy of the BBC Stargazing Live programme.

The winning students were treated to clear skies and an amazing view of the eclipse, which peaked at 9.31am.

They also recorded weather data as part of a national survey.

A graph showed the changes in light intensity and temperature logged by the students during the course of the eclipse

Design teacher Rhys Roberts said: “It was a great experience for students to be involved in collecting national data for such a rare and important event.

“After keeping our fingers crossed, the weather was kind to us, treating us to a clear view of the eclipse.”

The Mail’s long-time photographer Andrew Carpenter was also able to get some images of the eclipse which he posted via the Mail’s Twitter feed.