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Saturday, April 11, 2015

The March 2015 Solar Eclipse

When I heard that March 20, 2015, the total solar eclipse would be visible as a partial solar eclipse from Krakow, Poland, I had a dilemma: how can I observe this event when I possessed no adequate filter to protect my camera so I could photograph it? In the past, I used to own a specialized solar filter made from mylar, and so I thought: what do I have now that has such a similar property? 

The author's image of March 20, 2015  Solar Eclipse visible from Krakow, Poland.
The author's image of March 20, 2015
Solar Eclipse visible from Krakow, Poland.

The answer was remarkably simple: a blank DVD. Luckily I possessed a blank DVD with no artwork on the top that might diffuse the sun's image, and with my (cell phone) camera I went out and captured the eclipse in a matter of minutes. Please click on the image to enlarge it to see the eclipse in more detail.

WARNING: Even though my plan was to photograph the eclipse through the DVD using my cell phone camera, you should NEVER use a CD/DVD/Bluray disk as a filter to look directly at the sun with your eyes: invisible radiation may get through the improvised filter and damage them! So please be careful trying this method to photograph a solar eclipse!

Some interesting facts about this solar eclipse:

It so happened that this solar eclipse occurred that same date as the 2015 March equinox (the moon turned new only 14 hours after reaching the lunar perigee) moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. Thus this moon was a "Supermoon" – at the new phase – not visible in our sky, but having a larger-than-average effect on Earth’s oceans. Plus this new "Supermoon" swung right in front of the equinox sun on March 20, so that the moon’s shadow fell on parts of Earth.

Who was able to view the March 20 eclipse?:

In other words, only those along that path (at high northern latitudes, near Greenland and Iceland) were able to observe the total eclipse. The path of totality started at sunrise to the south of Greenland, circled to the east of Greenland and Iceland during midday, and ended to the north of Greenland at sunset. The best spot to watch this total solar eclipse from the land was the Faroe Islands and the Svalbard archipelago, which reside right on the semi-circle path of totality.

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