Last Friday people in the UK were treated to a rare event known as a blue moon, wherein a additional full moon appears during the month. This reminded me of another rare astronomical event that occurred this year, the solar eclipse on the 20th March.
The last solar eclipse I experienced was in 1999, at the time I was four so I don’t really remember it and I certainly didn’t appreciated the significance of what was happening. I promised myself that this would not be the case this time.
Weeks before I was actively following news of the solar eclipse and planning where to see it, sadly my flatmates didn’t exactly share my enthusiasm, and it didn’t look like anyone else in Bangor really cared either. Every time I said to someone that there was due to be a solar eclipse on Friday they usually replied “oh, is there?”.
It wasn’t until Thursday evening that a Facebook group popped up on my page, suggesting that anyone interested in watching the eclipse in Bangor should come to Roman Camp (A hill near the main university building). Therefore on Friday morning, after failing to rouse any of my flatmates, I headed off to watch the eclipse; camera and sunglasses in hand.
We were very lucky, unlike seemingly everywhere else, Bangor at eight o’clock in the morning was filled blue skies and brilliant sunshine. I seated myself down among a crowd of hundreds at the top of Roman Camp and we all awaited eagerly for the eclipse to start. We had all come armed with a wide array of eclipse viewing objects, including the traditional shoe-box viewer.
However by quarter to nine, cloud and haze was beginning to approach Bangor. Due to the danger of looking at the eclipse, my view of it was reduced to occasional glimpses through a shoe-box and aiming my camera roughly in the direction I thought the sun might be. By nine thirty the eclipse had reached peak totality in Wales, at around 88% and all I had seen of it was a dark spot on a piece of cardboard. My high expectations for such an event had certainly left me a little disappointed with the actual reality. Perhaps the best part of the experience was heading back to the flat under the darken sky, with the dawn chorus of birds ringing in my ears.
However when I got back I began to flick through my photos, almost every single one had missed the sun or been out of focus..
all except for one.
This is the closet I ever come to witnessing visual serenity and after seeing this photo, I figured the eclipse had lived up to all of my lofty expectations.
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