Partial solar eclipse seen in cloudy skies above UK
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The Ring of Fire eclipse was scheduled to arrive in the northernmost skies of Canada, Greenland and Russia. Appearing due to the Moon being slightly smaller than usual, the lunar orb passed in front of the Sun and blotted out all but a fiery ring of the solar disc at eclipse maximum – a so-called annular eclipse. But what about the rest of the world? Was the eclipse visible today from the UK?
With a dense blanket of clouds covering the UK today, it was hard to tell whether something unusual was going on in the skies.
Hopeful skygazers up and down the country vented their frustrations on social media, sharing pictures of the unfortunate weather.
Mark Thompson, an astronomer and TV presenter, tweeted: “Not seen the Sun since around 10.15am, nothing to do with the Moon eclipsing it alas, it’s pesky clouds eclipsing it… Far less interesting.”
Another disappointed skygazer said: “Remember to wear protective eyewear when looking at the #SolarEclipse.
“If you squint to the point of closing your eyes, you can imagine the solar eclipse behind these Manchester clouds.”
Was there an eclipse today?
Yes! Although the Ring of Fire, or annular eclipse, was only visible to select parts of the world, partial eclipsing was still visible across swathes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Here in the UK, astronomers estimated between 20 and 30 percent of the Sun would be covered by the Sun during maximum eclipse.
Eclipsing began just a few minutes after 10am BST, with maximum eclipse peaking by about 11.13am BST.
Other parts of the world, such as Northern Alaska and the Northeast US were treated to a more dramatic view.
In New York City, for instance, about 70 percent of the Sun was expected to be eclipsed.
And though poor weather spoiled the view for many people the UK, some astronomers were lucky enough to get a break in the clouds here and there.
David Blanchflower, an astrophotographer based in Newcastle, tweeted: “There was a surreal moment during today’s #SolarEclipse.
“I was eating my dinner outside at the same time as watching the Eclipse and taking pictures.”
Tom Kerss, a London based astronomer and member of the Royal Astronomical Society, also managed to get lucky and shared some snapshots of the eclipsed Sun from Greenwich.
He tweeted: “Unbelievable good fortune for a break in the cloud during Greatest Eclipse!
“Then at 11.14am the cloud rolled back over. Wow! Star-struck #SolarEclipse”
If you missed the eclipse in its entirety, you can watch the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s broadcast from earlier today in the embedded video above.
The free stream features astronomer Dr Greg Brown and guests describing the astronomical phenomenon while showing live images of the eclipsed Sun.
When is the next solar eclipse over the UK?
With British weather being what it is, clear skies are never guaranteed during a solar eclipse.
Thankfully, the next eclipse is not too far off and it will be visible from Europe.
According to the US space agency NASA, the next eclipse is due to take place on October 25, 2021.
The eclipse will pass over Europe, Northeast Africa, the Middle East and parts of West Asia.
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