Solar eclipse watched by pupils in St Albans

St Columba's College form 4 students Thomas Arthur, Matin Tavakoli and Connor Johnson use a light me

St Columba's College form 4 students Thomas Arthur, Matin Tavakoli and Connor Johnson use a light meter to measure the light dropping as the moon eclipsed the sun - Credit: Archant

This morning’s partial solar eclipse was unfortunately not an astonishing astronomical event but that did not stop pupils at a St Albans school from enjoying the once-in-a-generation experience.

St Columba's College pupils gather in the school's hall to watch a live web cast of the solar eclips

St Columba's College pupils gather in the school's hall to watch a live web cast of the solar eclipse - Credit: Archant

Residents all over the UK have been watching the eclipse, which took place from 8.18-9.35am.

Unfortunately because of heavy cloud cover, St Columba’s College students had to watch indoors, where the event was streamed live from Norway.

A spokeswoman said: “This didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the boys and they all enjoyed this rare event.

“Some pupils were able to monitor the effects of the eclipse using data loggers to record the light intensity and temperature.

The live web cast of the solar eclipse

The live web cast of the solar eclipse - Credit: Archant

“This data can now be used to explore the effects of astronomical effects on earth, and will be a fantastic tool to open up discussion in the classroom.”

She said the maximum partial eclipse occurred just after 9.32am, and lasted only a couple of minutes.

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Boys at St Columba’s were previously fully briefed on the safety aspect, as it is extremely dangerous to look directly at the sun.

Each pupil was given a pinhole camera but, the spokeswoman said, “it was such a shame that in the end the boys couldn’t use them” because of the heavy cloud.

Dr Rachel Osborne, head of science, added: “This is a fantastic event to get students engaged in science and heighten their understanding of some tough theoretical subjects.”

An eclipse occurs when the moon lines up exactly with both the earth and the sun.

But the moon must be between the earth and the sun – at this point the moon is at a new phase.

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