Capturing the partial solar eclipse of June 2021

I live in the UK and I’m an amateur astronomer, I’m very familiar with the vagaries of the weather and how a run of seemingly perfect days (nights) before an astronomical event will come to a crashing halt with a sky of clouds scant hours before the event starts.

With this in mind, and after a run of days with perfect blues skies, I’d decided to not make a great effort to view the eclipse; instead I just took a small, cheap spotting ‘scope to work with the intention of using it to project an image of the sun if the sun ever became visible.

Ten minutes before maximum eclipse there was no sun to be seen, not even a dim disc though the clouds, just a diffuse glow. Undaunted, I set the telescope up on a crap tripod I had laying around the lab and got it roughly pointed at the sun. I improvised a sunshield around the objective lens with a bit of cardboard box. The projection screen was some copier paper suck to a Tea-tray.

The sky cleared several times around maximum eclipse and I managed to snap a few photos and do a bit of impromptu science communication with people wondering what I was doing.

Capturing the eclipse with a cheap telescope and a teatray
Capturing the eclipse
Projecting the partial eclipse onto a screen