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At eleven minutes past four, Greenwich Mean Time on 31st May 2003, the sun rose above the eastern horizon in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, approximately 30% eclipsed by the moon. Over a large chunk of Greenland, the whole of Iceland and the tip of Scotland, the eclipse was annular. This is similar to a total eclipse, however the moon looks smaller due to its greater distance from the earth and does not completely obscure the sun's disc, causing a 'ring of fire' effect as it passes in front of the sun. Unfortunately for parts, if not all of Scotland however, the weather was not kind and the annular effect was obscured by thick mist.

Luckily, a lot further south, in Ross-on-Wye there was only a very light haze as I took a couple of hours out from being a postman to photograph the event from a field a little north of my home. Thanks Roger and Mike for prepping and delivering part of Duty 26 for me! I took a total of seventy six photographs of the event, trying various exposure and aperture settings and only two failed. Below you can see a sequence of four of them. I sent a small copy of the third one down to Sky News by email and, to my surprise, Steve Dixon and Alison Bell broadcast it at least twice to my knowledge on the morning news programme. I missed it live as I was out delivering mail but I have since seen a video recording. Thanks to you both for the kind comments both on screen and in your email!

Solar eclipse as seen from Ross-on-Wye
The first view of the sun as it appeared on the horizon at 04 hours 11 minutes and 56 seconds GMT.
Solar eclipse as seen from Ross-on-Wye
04 hours 14 minutes and 28 seconds GMT. The eclipsed sun rising above a distant tree. This 1/640 second exposure at F11 with polarizing filter shows our star's true colour, red by refraction through the earth's moist atmosphere.
Solar eclipse as seen from Ross-on-Wye
At 04 hours 15 minutes and 28 seconds GMT, the sun is fully above the horizon looking like a Pacman.
Solar eclipse as seen from Ross-on-Wye
Photographed again at 04 hours 17 minutes and 44 seconds GMT at 1/640 second, F5.6 and polarizing filter to produce a clearer view of the sun itself.

The photograph below is of the partial eclipse which occurred on 10 May 1994, photographed from Cawdor, Ross-on-Wye. Conditions were overcast but I managed to get two shots through a brief gap in the cloud. Kodak 100 ASA film, 600 mm lens, f11, 1/1000 second exposure, no filter. This eclipse was a dawn annular over the Eastern United States and Canada. In Ross-on-Wye, the eclipse began at 17:36 GMT and ended at sunset, so only the beginning stages were visible here.

Solar eclipse as seen from Ross-on-Wye


Photography, video and web design copyright © Alan J. Wood, All rights reserved.