Eclipse Event

On the morning of Friday 20th March student gathered together to observe the first major solar eclipse since 1999.

Although a number of staff had a chance to observe the eclipse in 1999, even the oldest of St Ives’ students could not remember seeing it. Solar eclipses are quire rare to observe in the UK, and the next major partial solar eclipse isn’t anticipated until 2026. The eclipse reached around a 92% totality, which is incredibly close to a total eclipse – the next total eclipse visible in Cornwall will not occur until September 2090, so it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ event for most of our staff and students.


The Science Team, supported by Sue Woodhead, bought eclipse glasses for all staff and students so that the entire school could observe the event safely.
Although the weather was quite overcast, there were several breaks in the cloud cover, which allowed the students to get a great view of the event.

The eclipse started at around 8:30, when the moon started to pass in front of the sun, but the maximum magnitude occurred at around 9:23. The students were fortunate enough to catch great views of the moon’s passage and the sky grew gloomy for around an hour.

One Year 8 student said, “It was really exciting to get outside and see what was happening. There were a lot of clouds, but we got a couple of really clear views of the moon in front of the sun and the birds thought that it was nighttime! It was really strange how fast it got light again afterwards.”

Sue Woodhead said, “The eclipse was a brilliant experience for the students, the entire school population was out on the field, to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event! Although it did not get as dark as we expected, to see the sun disappear to a crescent was amazing. Our group of Eclipse Scientists worked very hard and diligently to produce results, which we submitted to the University of Reading.”