23rd March 2015

Solar Eclipse witnessed by millions over the UK

On Friday the 20th March millions of UK residents turned their gaze heavenwards to witness the most spectacular solar eclipse above these shores since 1999. Although cloudy in some parts of the country a great majority of people in the United Kingdom had a wonderful view of the event as the moon passed in front of the sun and cast its shadow on to the ground.

From 8.30 am in the south of the country and later the further north in the UK, people were out in force in car parks, beauty spots, cliff tops and many historic sites including Stonehenge to witness the amazing phenomenon. The sky darkened until almost like night time as the birds and other animals went quiet at the height of the eclipse. In Cornwall the temperature dropped by an amazing three degrees. Just a small ‘smile' part of the sun was visible when the majority of it was obscured by the moon.

To experience a full total eclipse you would have had to travel to parts of Norway or the Faroe Islands. School children issued with eclipse watching spectacles were out in their school yards to view what is a once in a lifetime sight. Other people had devised and built their own pinhole cameras projecting an image of the sun via a small hole on one piece of card onto a second piece placed behind it. Some watchers had used welding goggles and other items of dark coloured glass to enable them to see the spectacle, although in some parts of the country the clouds acted as a natural filter enabling the eclipsed to be viewed with the naked eye. The eclipse was the last one to occur in Europe for over a decade, the next one not coming along until August 12 2026.

More Solar Eclipse Resources:

View an image of the solar eclipse as photographed from the international space station - click here

The Independent collaborates some of the best solar eclipse photos - click here