Friday 20 March 2015

'Breathtaking' solar eclipse witnessed by millions

Millions of people in the UK and northern Europe have glimpsed the best solar eclipse in years.

In a solar eclipse, a swathe of the Earth is plunged into darkness as the Moon comes between us and the Sun.
From an aeroplane above the Faroe Islands, a BBC camera captured startling footage of the event reaching totality at 09:41 GMT.
As the Sun emerges from behind the Moon, people are still advised not to look directly at the phenomenon.
This is because even during the eclipse, looking directly at the Sun causes serious harm - but there are ways to watch the eclipse safelyand many people have taken the chance to do so.
In all parts of the UK the eclipse reached at least 83% and the darkness peaked at about 09:35 GMT.
Actual viewing opportunities were heavily dependent on the cloud cover that shrouded much of the country.
The deep shadow formed first in the North Atlantic, before sweeping up into the Arctic Circle and ending at the North Pole.
The UK will not see a solar eclipse on this scale again until 2026.

The exact moment of greatest darkness for UK skywatchers was dependent on their location.
Penzance, in Cornwall, for example, had this moment at 09:23 GMT, whereas for Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, it happened at 09:43 GMT.
For the Shetlands, the eclipse was very nearly total at 97%.
To experience totality required going further north still - such as the trip taken by a BBC camera operator above the clouds in the Faroes.

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