So, did you manage to observe something of the eclipse.  After the total cloud out' of the last major astronomical event; the early morning transit of Venus in 2012, the chances of viewing the most significant solar eclipse since 2003 at best looked in the balance, but sometimes luck does favour the optimistic.  So I suppose we should consider ourselves rather fortunate that the weather patterns altered, shifting the low cloud and fog which blanketed the area each morning in the days leading up to Friday, and that the forecast heavy cloud for the morning itself was considerably more patchy and thinner than predicted. 

Having surveyed the sky and wind direction, I certainly felt quite upbeat on arriving at the Bandstand that something of the eclipse would be visible.  Unloading and loading was certainly convenient, being able to park right next to the event site.  I must say thanks to the Port Authority for permission to use the Bandstand. 

In all six scopes were deployed, including John’s solar scope and Warren’s reflector.  Andi was on hand with bacon butties, which were gratefully scoffed by members, whilst proceedings from Svarlbad, where the eclipse would be total, could be watched on his laptop- in case we were clouded out completely.  By 9pm more people began to arrive as conditions improved with queues developing for the scopes. 

The home-made solar shades I had made were also fully utilised.  With small breaks in the cloud appearing it became possible to attempt solar projection, allowing the moons serene progress across the suns disk to be enjoyed.  The rugged lunar limb could easily be made out, so too was a solitary sunspot.  A number of sizeable flares were also evident through John’s solar scope

As the time of maximum coverage approached, cloud again spilled across the sun, but critically was thin enough for it to be still visible to the naked eye, allowing all to take in the enfolding scene without any kind of hand held solar filter...  fate, jammy, call it what you will, it was remarkable timing....9:35 on the dot! Lighting levels noticeably dropped a little at this point, with a temperature fall of just over 3 degrees reported by Keith from the Bruce observatory; his location for the morning.  Out to sea a small rainbow segment appeared exactly at the time of maximum obscuration, adding to the ambience. 

Andy L at RAF Fylingdales reported that clearer conditions, allowing him to follow events without too much cloud interference. 

Back down in the harbour thicker cloud curtailed observation from 9:50am for a good half hour, during which time most people drifted away.  As members packed away equipment, the sun again come out, by which time the moon was visible through the solar filters taking a bite out of the left hand side only.  The Eclipse finally came to end at 10:35, despite the pessimistic forecast we had actually fared better than the Faroe Islands where totality was clouded out completely. 

Other parts of the UK had enjoyed clear skies, but at least I left the Bandstand quite satisfied and not with a feeling of being cheated by Mother Nature; for once.