Egbert here again, with the next part of our eclipse story. On the morning of the eclipse, we had to get up really really early, about 2.30am (that’s half past two in the morning, and everyone knows I like my sleep!), because this eclipse was an early one. It can happen at any time of the day, but today’s was expected between 5.30am and 7.30am.
We were expecting a bus at 3am, it was going to take us to a place to watch the eclipse, but at 3.20am it hadn’t turned up. Stephen called the bus company on his mobile phone and they told him that the bus had been cancelled and he should “try another bus company”. He figured that this might not be the most successful use of time at that hour of the morning, so he had to put plan B into action, which was to walk to a clear place to view the eclipse.
So we set off, walked across the city to the sea side and along the sea side until after the last street light and set up the gear. I helped lift things out of the back pack. We met a happy German called Herman, who was really interested in stars and telescopes and things, and he lent us a special gadget for taking photos of the sun using the camera that Dr Murray normally uses for taking pictures of children’s teeth – if you are visiting him for some orthodontics, you can ask him about it.
We were all worried that the clouds and rain would cause a problem, but it all worked out OK in the end! Not long after sunrise, the moon started moving across the sun – I could use my special glasses to watch it (but not the whole time, just for occasional glimpses) – and after about an hour, the moon was right in front of the sun and everything went dark.
The moon is a lot smaller than the sun, but the sun is a lot further away, and they both seem the same size from the earth. So when they line up, they make a shadow on a bit of the earth, which is where we were.
The total eclipse lasts about 2 minutes, then the moon begins moving away from the sun again and about an hour later, it’s not in front of the sun any more at all.
The sun and moon finally poked through the clouds for us to see!
There were big cheers from everyone when the sun and moon lined up, and then again when the sun started to come back out from behind the moon and shine again. And after a while when it got bright, we went for some breakfast.