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Millions across Britain turned out this morning to watch a spectacular solar eclipse.

The eclipse started not long after 8pm this morning when the top right hand portion of the Sun appeared to have a chunk bitten out of it.

At about 9.30am the partial eclipse was at its greatest extent and the country was plunged into brief darkness as only the bottom part of the Sun appeared as a crescent, looking like a grin in the sky.

The further north you were, the more the Moon covered the disc of the Sun, with people in northern Scotland being able to see around 98% of the Sun obscured, with people in the south of England seeing around 86% of it obscured.

People turned out at Stonehenge in Wiltshire and the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis to see it.

However, many areas were covered in too many clouds for people to be able to see the phenomenon.

But the clouds didn't spoil it for everybody. I was able to see the eclipse through the thin, whispy grey clouds with the naked eye, as the grey clouds acted as a light filter. So I had a good long view of it, through the clouds.

Other parts of Europe also witnessed the eclipse. Up in the Faroe Islands, and Norway's Svalbard, people from all over the world turned out to see it as a spectacular total eclipse.

This partial eclipse was the first eclipse in the UK since August 1999, when it was a total eclipse. The next partial eclipse in the UK will occur in August 2026, with the next total eclipse happening in September 2090, not long after my 109th birthday.

The greatest show on Earth: Millions across Britain stop to watch the first solar eclipse of the century as day slowly turns into night - but dense cloud wrecks the spectacle for most of the UK

Send your own eclipse pictures and videos to: mailonlinepictures@dailymail.co.uk

In the Hebrides the sun was practically invisible as the Isle of Lewis experienced a 98 per cent eclipse

Skies began to darken as the Moon started moving between earth and sun from around 8.30am

The eclipse peaked at around 9.30am across vast swathes of the country and will end at 10.30am

But a blanket of cloud sitting across much of the UK meant millions were left disappointed

It is first solar eclipse in the UK this century and it will not happen for at least another decade

By Martin Robinson for MailOnline
20 March 2015
Daily Mail

Millions across Britain stopped to watch the first solar eclipse of this century, which plunged parts of the UK in to brief darkness.

Britain's skies began to darken at around 8.24am this morning as the Moon started to move between us and the sun, with the eclipse peaking at around 9.30am across the country.

But cloud coverage meant that millions across Britain were unable to see anything at all of the eclipse, the like of which will not be seen again for several more decades.

The sun's light was almost totally concealed, casting a huge shadow of the Moon across the nation turning day briefly to night, but watchers could not look directly at the sun because they risked damaging their eyes.

In the Hebrides the sun was practically invisible as the Isle of Lewis experienced a 98 per cent eclipse, while the Faroe Islands saw a total eclipse.

Beautiful: Svalbard was one of the few places on the planet to see a total eclipse, while in the UK there was a 98 per cent eclipse in Scotland

Drama: The total solar eclipse at Svalbard in Norway as a 100-mile-wide 'totality' shadow path crossed the North Atlantic in a once-in-a-generation event

Lining up: Spectators at the Eden Project in Cornwall watch the partial eclipse with their special glasses

Greatest show on earth: This is the moment there was a total eclipse in the Faroe Islands this morning as 100-mile-wide 'totality' shadow path crossed the North Atlantic

View from space: The European Space Agency’s sun-watching Proba-2 mini satellite captured how the moon covered the sun this morning

View: The eclipse as seen from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, where people were able to see 98 per cent of the sun covered by the moon

Spiritual home: The most famous prehistoric monument in the world and a pagan shrine saw one of the best views of the eclipse

Start: The Moon begins to cross the sun above Leicester this morning as the eclipse began at around 8.24am this morning as millions watched the sky

Sequence: The progress of the eclipse as seen from Penzance is shown in these photographs taken at five-minute intervals

Video: ESA captures Europe's solar eclipse seen from Proba-2

The last solar eclipse of such significance in the UK occurred on August 11 1999, and was 'total' - with 100 per cent of the sun covered when seen from Cornwall.

Another 'deep' partial eclipse visible in the UK will not occur until August 12 2026, and the next total eclipse not until September 2090.

Today's eclipse produced a 100-mile-wide 'totality' shadow path that crossed the North Atlantic and covers only two land masses, the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

Away from this path the sun was partly obscured. A partial eclipse was visible across a large part of the northern hemisphere, including the whole of Europe, Greenland, Newfoundland, northern Africa and western Asia.

A group standing by the Clifton Observatory in Bristol took turns to look through their giant pinhole camera and a piece of welding glass.

Robin Neville, 25, said it had taken around an hour to make the contraption.

'We cobbled it together out of boxes,' Mr Neville said. 'The view up here is great and we are next to a working camera obscura too. You can see most of Bristol from here.'

In Eastbourne, East Sussex, complete cloud cover was spoiling the eclipse for dozens of people who gathered on the Western Lawns.

Some schoolchildren were given time off lessons to observe the eclipse but they were left disappointed.

Astronomer Harry Ford, retired from Greenwich Observatory, said: 'I was able to demonstrate the last eclipse in 1999 in the courtyard by the Greenwich Observatory but right now it looks like it's going to be a disappointment.

'Thick cloud doesn't look like it's lifting at all. Fortunately we have plenty of people to explain what they should be seeing. It seems that people in the West Country, like Devon and Cornwall, are having better weather than we are'.

Drama: This is the moment the Moon almost covered the sun in St Austell, Cornwall, this morning as millions watched the skies for the first eclipse of the century

Spot the difference: This is the scene overlooking Torshavn, the capital of Denmark's Faroe Islands, 200 miles north of the UK, during their total eclipse, top, and then afterwards, bottom

The skies darken over Arbroath, Angus this morning as the eclipse peaked at around 9.30am this morning

Gloom: As the eclipse reached its peak at Stonehenge and over Worcester Cathedral, both were plunged into darkness and the temperature fell

Delight: A young pupil at St Vincent's Catholic Primary School in Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Watching: Children from St Ursula's School in Greenwich looking at the eclipse from the Greenwich Observatory

Young fans: A schoolgirl equipped with solar filter glasses watches the eclipse from outside the museum in Cardiff

Gadget: A pinhole camera is deployed by eclipse enthusiasts who gathered in Cardiff this morning

Safety first: One pet owner put eclipse glasses on her dog so the animals could watch safely from Regent's Park in London

Homemade: Primary school pupils using their own eclipse viewers to watch the phenomenon in Greenwich

Wonder: Pupils at Handcross Park School in Sussex gathered to watch the eclipse

Lens: A woman in Budapest using a special glass lens to watch the eclipse

Seascape: The skies darken over a single boat in the sea at Arbroath, Anugus, this morning during the eclipse

More than 100 people flocked to the 5000-year-old Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis to witness the solar eclipse.

And they were rewarded most of the time by a break in the clouds - almost to the point of near totality.

Lewis had been billed as the prime place in Britain to see the solar phenomenon.

Caroline Pritchard, 58, and her partner Laurence McCallum, 50, travelled 905 miles in a 21 hour car and ferry journey - together with their three dogs - to see the event.

'This is the end of the age of Aquarius and we wanted to get here to see the eclipse,' said Mr McCallum, who works in a fine food business.

'I took the week off work unpaid and it has been worth it. It was fantastic. We arrived on Tuesday and unfortunately missed the other great astronomical event here this week - the Northern Lights. But the eclipse more than made up for it.'

Ms Pritchard agreed: 'I am a spiritual person and I was drawn here to see the eclipse. I believe in powers greater than ourselves.'

Islander Linda Vaughan, 62, from Crossbost, rang a Tibetan bowl to herald the eclipse as it created dusk - with temperatures noticeably plunging with the sun's infra red blocked out.

'The sound resonates with the stones. This is a spiritual and sacred place.. It is about creating the right harmony,' she said.

Four intrepid shadow seekers even boarded a special boat trip with Kilda Cruises from Leverburgh on the Isle of Harris at 5am to witness the eclipse at remote St Kilda.

The archipelago, 41 miles west of the main Outer Hebrides, was forecast to be cloud free at the time of the event.

Donny Mackay, president of the Stornoway Astronomical Society, said it received over 500 inquiries by email - as well as 100 phone calls - fromall over the UK as well as far away as Germany.

'I was a bit worried when I saw the cloud early this morning but it turned out as good as we could have hoped for. It was reallty memorable,' he said.

Elly Welsh and her children Tam, 10, and Dusty, 8, even made their own viewer while pupils for Stornoway Primary were allowed to witness the event.

The expected influx of tourists did not reach the scale that was hoped for.

The main tourist office for the isles said it had had 'very few' inquries - and had received more about seeing the Northern Lights, which lit up the Hebridean sky on Tuesday night.

Aird Uig, on the western tip of Lewis, experienced the deepest part of the eclipse in the UK with 98 percent totality.

Pupils at the local Uig primary school made eclipse viewers.

Space odyssey: This is the moment the sun disappeared seen from above the atmosphere in space

As it happened: Pictures from Falmouth, Cornwall show the partial eclipse from start to finish

Landscape: The partial eclipse as seen from Stonehenge, where the spring equinox was also being celebrated

View: The eclipse over Edinburgh Castle as it neared its peak around 9.30am

Still: Sharp spring sunshine was dulled by the eclipse over Swansea Marina in South Wales today

Sliver: The eclipse as it was close to its maximum extent in Edinburgh, top, and Oldham, bottom

An eclipse of the sun over one of the the Liver Birds on the Royal Liver building in Liverpool, as a near-total eclipse of the sun happened

South-west: The eclipse in Plymouth, Devon, left, and Newquay in Cornwall this morning, with the south-west being one of the best places to watch

View: The sun as seen from Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, with a weather vane in front of it

Glee: These sky watchers in Glasgow clearly enjoyed the eclipse, shown right over the spire of Worcester Cathedral

Obscured: In some areas cloud cover was expected to affect the view of the eclipse; pictured is the view from Bridgwater in Somerset

In some parts of the world, it was a total eclipse. It can be seen here over the mountains of Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway, bringing darkness to the beautiful island

People watch in darkness during the totality of a solar eclipse on as seen from a hill beside a hotel on the edge of the city overlooking Torshavn, the capital city of the Faroe Islands

A partial solar eclipse of the sun is visible next to the statues of Milan's cathedral in northern Italy today

Picture postcard: An Egyptian uses special glasses to view a partial solar eclipse as people gather near the Sphinx at the Giza Pyramids

Read more: Millions preparing to take time to watch the eclipse - disruption around the country as Britons set up for first full eclipse of the century* | Daily Mail Online
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Last edited by Blackleaf; Mar 20th, 2015 at 07:55 AM..