General, Science, Science and Society

Nov 14 partial eclipse in Wellington - odd light and weird shadows

As many people here in NZ know, today we’re getting to see a partial eclipse!

Here in Wellington it peaked at 10:34, with 76% coverage.

Copyright aimee whitcroft. Note the camera artifact which shows you the eclipse (between the plane and the sun, and to the right)*


For those who’re wondering why their shadow was sharp on one side and blurry on t’other. A Stuff article mentions that this might happen, but didn’t explain why…

I’ve done a bit of looking around as to why this is, and think it might be due to the following: when the sun is a point source (i.e. a direct source of light), shadows are sharp. However, during an eclipse the penumbra of the eclipse (where light is diffused) will also become a factor, making for a blurry shadow. Since this eclipse was partial, yielding both penumbra AND point source, you get both kinds of shadow.

Solar-type scientists? Am I right?

Also, the light quality was really odd.  A colleague described the light quality as being ‘all flat’, and went on to say ‘it’s like someone turned the f-stop down’.

Note the weirdness of the colour of the sea, too. This was taken at Evans Bay (well, greta Point), panning from South to North. That odd dark green colour in the middle? We’ve never seen the sea like that and the blue at both North and South is also an unusual colour. We think it’s because scattered light was a more important light source at that point than direct light (the video was taken at 10:26, just before peak).





* Ahem. This photo isn’t CC, but rather copyrighted. Please get in touch if you want to use it :)

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