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Pupils Enjoy Partial Solar Eclipse

Friday, 20 March 2015

Students across the Bolton School Foundation enjoyed experiencing the partial solar eclipse this morning.

In partnership with the Ogden Trust, a live cast of the eclipse was set up using the Ogden Trust’s Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope on the roof of the School’s Turret Library. Girls’ Division teacher Mr Ickringill took charge of the telescope for the duration. Despite some cloud cover, the telescope nonetheless captured some great images. The live stream allowed many pupils to watch the eclipse safely from inside their classrooms on their iPads or on the interactive whiteboards. The event was also recorded for future viewing.

In the Boys’ and Girls’ Division Senior Schools, some pupils were allowed out of lessons to watch the eclipse using pinhole cameras or through their iPad screens. There was a buzz of excitement on the top levels as the moon crept across the sun, finally reaching around 90% coverage at the maximum!

The Bolton Astronomical Society were invited to set up their telescopes on School grounds for the event, and allowed pupils to view the eclipse and even take photos using their equipment. This made viewing the eclipse even more special and memorable for the assembled students.

Girls’ Division Junior School pupils watched the eclipse live on the giant screen in the hall to ensure they had the best possible view! Some of the girls had brought in viewing devices from home, including a pair of ‘eclipse viewer’ glasses, and a pinhole camera made out of a large cardboard box, big enough for several girls to use at once. Mrs Phillips accompanied these girls as they went outside to see if the clouds had dissipated enough to allow them to see the eclipse.

The Boys’ Division Junior School started the day with an assembly about the eclipse, during which Mr Hough and three boys showed exactly what was about to happen using an inflatable Sun, Moon and Earth! This introduced the boys to the science behind what they were about to see before they went outside to try out pinhole cameras for themselves. The boys were also able to watch live coverage of the eclipse on the large screen in the hall.

Mr Ickringill, who is an Ogden Fellow at the school and the organised the live cast, commented, “A partial solar eclipse is an event not to be missed! Astronomy is a tremendously interesting and inspirational subject. There are few other subjects that can fire the imagination and give such a sense of wonder and when a rare event such as an eclipse occurs it produces a lot of interest in the subject from children and adults alike. It is a privilege to be able to share this event with pupils in the School and also many schools around the country. I would like to thank the Ogden Trust for their generosity in providing the solar scope and to the Bolton Astronomical Society for their support running this event.”

Watching the solar eclipse was certainly a memorable event for all of the pupils who took part in viewing it, whether they were outside with a pinhole camera or tuned in to a digital broadcast. The next 90% eclipse to be visible in Bolton will take place in 2026 – 11 years from now!

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The Junior Boys learned about the science of a solar eclipse in assembly

The Junior Boys learned about the science of a solar eclipse in assembly

The eclipse, captured by Mr Chilton through one of the Bolton Astronomical Society telescopes

The eclipse, captured by Mr Chilton through one of the Bolton Astronomical Society telescopes

Mr Ickringill on the Turret Library roof with the Ogden Trust

Mr Ickringill on the Turret Library roof with the Ogden Trust's solar telescope