Solar Eclipse on Beech Street

  • Post published:08/21/2017
  • Post comments:4 Comments
Wendy and Pat
Wendy and Pat and solar eclipse

My neighbor Wendy came over to our house to watch the  solar eclipse. You can see our scientific arsenal, a colander, a red plastic dish pan filled with water and a big stainless steel bowl filled with water. We did not have any of the special glasses but we heard that you could watch the eclipse as a reflection in water, even if it was only a bowl of water. You can also hold up a colander with good sized holes over a sheet of white paper or poster board.

Eclipse reflected in red dish pan
Eclipse reflected in red dish pan

The red dish pan gave the better reflection of the solar eclipse, but we did try some other techniques. I should say, our sky  was cloudy and this good photo came through the clouds.  When there was a brief moment with no clouds, the eclipse was way to bright to look at. Not as bad as looking directly at the sun, but not good  either. We were very happy to have those high clouds.

Many little eclipses
Many little eclipses

The photo does not have sharp definition, but this colander creates shade and causes each hole to created an eclipse image. This reminded us of an eclipse in 1994 when we were both working at Williams College. Everyone was out on the campus and we walked by some small trees with light foliage and on the grass we saw shadows of the foliage, and in the patches of sun between the leaf shadows we saw hundreds of tiny eclipses. An amazing discovery then – and now.

Eclipses on the sidewalk
Eclipses on the sidewalk

Again there is not sharp definition in the photo, but also again you can (barely) see eclipses between the shadows of a densely leaved sycamore.

Venetian blind eclipses
Venetian blind eclipses

By chance we had to get something from our bedroom and saw all these eclipses caused by the shadows of  our blinds. One eclipse (I don’t know why) was beautifully clear.

I plan to have a pair of those scientific glasses by the time we have the next solar eclipse in 2024.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Wow, awesome observations! I did the same thing with the colander, and I tried pin pricks in foil projected on white paper. Then, at the last minute, my neighbor gave me a pair of the glasses so I was able to see it at the peak through the glasses. It was great–even though we were only at 85%! I like your image in the red bowl filled with water. That’s wonderful! The Venetian blinds are nifty, too!

  2. Pat

    Beth – My husband tried to make a camera obscura but didn’t get the pinhole sized right. Once when the transit of Venus crossing the sun was to occur just after dawn we set up a camera obscura by covering the single window in my ‘office’ with black plastic and putting in a pinhole. We not only got to see Venus moving across the face of the sun, we got to see the trees outside the window in water color pastel shades – upside down! Another amazing astronomical and technical moment.

  3. Wendy

    I tried to see it, just a few blocks away, with no luck. Must have timed it wrong. I was delighted by tree leaf multiples during the last eclipse and hoped to catch them again. Thanks so much for doing it!

  4. commonweeder

    Wendy – next time in 2024 we’ll all be more prepared for the eclipse!

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