A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
In 2015 Spring is set to begin at 22:45 UTC, 20 March. This is the moment the Sun is halfway between it’s yearly lowest and highest position in the sky. You can expect the days to get longer faster, and the plants to realize that Winter is past. In addition to these wonderful things, you may also have the rare chance to see a solar eclipse tomorrow around 8:30 UTC.
Before the Moon blots out the Sun’s rays you may be wondering how you could safely watch this spectacle. Searching Google will provide you with many useful results, however for those who are in a rush and know the location of a nearby hardware store, you can always go pick up some aluminum coated mylar foil. This foil will allow just a enough light through for you to see the sun safely.
You could buy large rolls of mylar foil, or just find an old birthday balloon — recycle for the win!
Personally, I’ll be using some special glasses I borrowed; one of the perks of being an astronomer. Where will I be watching from? Either the window from my room, which has a perfect view of the morning sun, or at an organized eclipse observation event at the old observatory in Leiden. Either way, pictures are sure to follow!
Update after eclipse:
I think a lot of people woke up, looked outside, and like me decided it wasn’t a very good day for watching solar eclipses. The clouds were thick and grey, and the wind was cold.
I longed to stay in bed, for it was so soft and warm, but I did not want to let clouds discourage me from enjoying this day. Upon arriving at 9:30 I found that a lot of people were already there, and that a colleague of mine had already set up a telescope and camera, and attached them to a computer. They could see the Sun in infrared through the clouds.
While it may have seemed a lost cause, I managed to snap some pictures of the Sun. I also managed to find some cool people to chill with afterwards, making the day quite nice in the end.