Partial eclipse of the sun

Partial solar eclipse from Cape Town

Once every month, the moon moves in between the sun and the earth and casts a shadow; but most of the time the position of the moon's orbit relative to the earth's means that this shadow misses us entirely.

This morning, however, we got to see the first solar eclipse of 2009 (and the best one that will be visible from South Africa for several years). The eclipse was only partial, with a maximum coverage of about 65% visible from Cape Town just after 8am.

Of course, a partial eclipse doesn't mean darkness by any means, despite what you see in the photo - the sky was actually perfectly blue, but Paul took the photo using a very high shutter speed and small aperture. Everything seemed to take on a slightly paler, softer look, though, almost as though the earth and sky were covered with gauze.

And don't worry, no eyes were harmed in the making of this photo. ;-)

Update: Take a look at Justin Hartman's awesome shot of the eclipse. I love the colours of the swirling clouds - that'd look good on a canvas, don't you think?

15 thoughts on “Partial eclipse of the sun

  1. Paul

    Kerry-Anne mentioned that I used a fast shutter speed and small aperture. For interest sake, I used a shutter speed of 1/4000 sec and aperture of F45. I also used a filter to restrict even more light. It was actually quite tricky taking the photo because even with my sunglasses on I was forbidden to look at the sun. :) The plus side is as Kerry-Anne says, my eyes still work okay. :)

  2. Justin Hartman

    Thanks for the link-back guys!
    I was REALLY REALLY luck with my shots. The cloud cover gave me about 1-2 minutes to take the shot and the added bonus was that we were all able to look directly at the eclipse without hurting out eyes.

    A few seconds after I took my pic it was over. You could not look at the eclipse and taking more photos was impossible.

    What a luck ;)

  3. Jilly

    This is just great. Glad to know no eyes were hurt and hopefully no camera lenses either – perhaps it doesn’t affect camera lenses. Justin’s photo is beautiful too.

  4. mjw

    Ah, beautiful. I have yet to take a great* eclipse photo. I don’t have the equipment that can do it. I photograph shadows instead. I like the effect of all the bitten-out chunks of shadow caused by eclipse-affected light filtering through tree branches and leaves.

    *Or decent… or anything, really….

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