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Friday 20 March 2015

Supermoon, Eclipse, Spring Equinox....

Photo with kind permission of professional film-maker, Sean Lewis.

.....and it's International Day of Happiness! What's not to like about today!

I really wasn't expecting to see much of the eclipse as the forecast was for cloud and when I woke up it didn't look promising.  But then the clouds thinned and blue sky appeared in between and I was able to see most of it.  Whooo hooo!  To say it was great doesn't quite sum up the "cosmic experience"!

Some folk were heading to the standing stones at Brodgar and Stenness, but I decided to stay on Graemsay which is *my* special place.  So I put on several layers of clothes, hat, gloves, grabbed a small flask of tea and went and sat in the doorway of the shed to watch this magical event unfold.

I could have stayed in the warm and watched it through the window, but I was curious to actually "feel" the eclipse.  So I stood outside with a perplexed Button who doesn't do "static".  She rummaged in the shed for a while, then wandered about outside and then wandered back into the shed. Meowing complainingly all the time.

I didn't try and take any photos as I have no special equipment to do so, and knew there would be plenty of pictures online. So I could just enjoy the experience. But friends who did said I could share theirs. So here is a photo cunningly taken by G. at "Imperfect and Tense" who took this over in Holm, on the Orkney Mainland. He has some other great photos on his blog so go and take a look.

A friend had brought me a pair of the "special glasses" so I was able to watch the eclipse from the very beginning.  Slowly the sun started to disappear.  Just around the height of the eclipse it got a little cloudy but not enough to really obscure what was happening. (Note no the reflection isn't of a melting Button, just a trick of the light!).

I didn't notice much difference among the animals around me - the sheep carried on grazing or eating the silage, the lambs carried on as usual and showed no signs of distress in the gathering gloom.  The starlings did fly out of the field onto the roof of the barn, and were maybe a bit quieter, but they do that when a tractor rolls past, so not sure it was the effect of the disappearing sun!  The seabirds certainly carried on shrieking.  And Button carried on complaining.  I wondered if my hens would decide to go back into the henny house.  But nope, they sat resolutely on the back door step waiting for breakfast.  Nobody fools a chicken out of breakfast!

It DID get a lot colder, and it got to almost a twilight. Not quite but an odd light.  But to be honest it was no different than a dreich day in Winter!  So that's probably why the animals didn't bother too much and it didn't last for long (four minutes).  Maybe if it had been the summer and clearer skies it might have been more dramatic and had an effect. Friends in Stromness said the skylarks and lapwings stopped calling for a while.

It was great to feel that I was watching along with millions of others. And it was fun looking at all the pictures on the various Facebook groups.  Most people in Orkney got to see a good bit of it which was great given the cloud cover.  And later the mist rolled in too.

I found it awesome to watch and that was even knowing all the science.  Imagine how those folk hundreds, thousands, of years ago would have viewed it with trepidation.  Legends of dragons eating the sun.  Superstitions and fear around the event.  Now I can view it with pleasure and wonder at the magic of the natural forces.

And of course we mustn't forget the tides!  Particularly low tides today and tomorrow. Indeed I'm in town tomorrow and the boat home has been delayed in the afternoon by two hours because such a low tide is expected!

Again a couple of photos by kind permission of Sean Lewis

Moon still moving across towards totality

And now moving away from the sun again


  1. I missed it completely, chatting with visitors.

    1. Oh no!!!! I was lucky that I could just take my time and watch....

  2. that's very interesting regarding the tides. You were lucky to be able to see it all.

    1. Yes I'd known the tides and moon were linked but it's amazing HOW much difference it makes at certain times of the year depending on where the moon is in relation to the EArth.

  3. Ah, I was interested to hear the Orkney take on the eclipse. I've just posted my own - along with thousands of other bloggers, no doubt! It was distinctly weird, wasn't it?
    I am having a bit of a bad patch with M.E. and was just saying to Dear Husband that, what with an eclipse, a new moon and the vernal equinox all on the same day, there must be all sorts of cosmic energy fizzing about - so you'd think they could let me have just a teeny smidgeon of it...sigh! :)

    1. I "felt" this experience more than the last eclipse in 1999. Definitely darker, cooler, and I noticed the birds going quieter - though not stopping completely.

      Really sorry to hear that you are having a touch time with M.E. And yes wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have plugged ourselves into some of that energy!!

  4. Such wonderful images you found. I love the one with the tripod and the image of the eclipse on the wall.

    I enjoyed your observations about the lack of response from the animals.

    Best wishes from snowed in Nova Scotia.

    1. I seem to know quite a few photographers in Orkney, some gifted amateurs, others professionals and I'm also fortunate they are happy to share their images! My "snappy happy" camera just doesn't take the same quality pictures.

      Has Spring arrived for you yet? I must check out the web cams and see. I know you've had a bad winter...wishing you Spring!

  5. Fascinating. You were much closer to totality than we were down in Wales. We watched it from indoors with the aid of a pinhole camera and it did indeed get chilly for a while, but not exactly dark.