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A Solar Eclipse in Britain, 20th March 2015 - with pictures

Updated on March 22, 2015
Solar eclipse, 2015, showing maximum partial eclipse position over Worcestershire and Birmingham.
Solar eclipse, 2015, showing maximum partial eclipse position over Worcestershire and Birmingham. | Source

March 20th, 2015. A date that had been marked in my calendar since the start of the year. Not only was it the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are of equal length, but Britain was going to experience a partial solar eclipse.

The full eclipse would be seen in the Faroe Isles and Svalbard, but much of Scandinavia and Europe would witness this spectacle as the moon's shadow was cast across the earth. Britain and Ireland would see a sliver of sun at around half past nine in the morning.

The map shows the percentage of the partial eclipse that was seen over Britain & Ireland
The map shows the percentage of the partial eclipse that was seen over Britain & Ireland | Source

Cloudy Across Much of the U.K.

One thing we get a lot of in Britain is rain, and with that come the clouds. There was always a chance that enjoyment of this celestial event would be spoiled by grey skies, but I silently hoped that at least some of the eclipse would be visible.

The early morning was spent shouting at the clouds to go away, but by the time I had reached my viewing spot on top of the Lickey Hills in Worcestershire, the sky had cleared.

I was one of the lucky ones. Many sun-spotters were disappointed to see nothing but cloud cover as they waited to see the skies darken.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
At 08:15, the clouds began to clear. Solar eclipse, 2015.By 09:16, the skies began to visibly darken. Solar eclipse, 2015.With only a sliver of light remaining, it was amazing to see how much of the land the sun still illuminated. Solar eclipse, 2015.At 09:33, we were plunged in to near darkness as the partial eclipse reached its peak. Solar eclipse, 2015.10:31, and with most of the moon having passed across the sun's surface, daylight had now pretty much fully returned. Solar eclipse, 2015.
At 08:15, the clouds began to clear. Solar eclipse, 2015.
At 08:15, the clouds began to clear. Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
By 09:16, the skies began to visibly darken. Solar eclipse, 2015.
By 09:16, the skies began to visibly darken. Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
With only a sliver of light remaining, it was amazing to see how much of the land the sun still illuminated. Solar eclipse, 2015.
With only a sliver of light remaining, it was amazing to see how much of the land the sun still illuminated. Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
At 09:33, we were plunged in to near darkness as the partial eclipse reached its peak. Solar eclipse, 2015.
At 09:33, we were plunged in to near darkness as the partial eclipse reached its peak. Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
10:31, and with most of the moon having passed across the sun's surface, daylight had now pretty much fully returned. Solar eclipse, 2015.
10:31, and with most of the moon having passed across the sun's surface, daylight had now pretty much fully returned. Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
Time of maximum partial eclipse
Time of maximum partial eclipse | Source

And So it Begins!

I took my spot to sit and witness the eclipse. There were many people that came to the hill to view the eclipse, and some looked more serious than others! Professional photographers came equipped with SLR cameras on tripods, whilst families used card with pin holes through it, to allow them to view the eclipse without damaging their eyes. Some people, including myself, had a pair of protective glasses that allowed us to look at the sun for up to three minutes at a time without harming our eyes.

Without the glasses, it was hard to see any difference in the sun, but by 08:34, the moon had begun to travel across the sun's surface. The eclipse had begun.

Armed with my trusty Nikon bridge camera, I decided to experiment. Placing one lense of the glasses over my camera lense. Setting the zoom up to it's full capacity, I carefully leant on the bench to reduce camera shake, and gave it a go. The results were spectacular!

Eclipse Photographs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
08:34 Solar eclipse, 2015.08:46 Solar eclipse, 2015.08:55 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:02 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:11 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:21 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:25 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:29 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:32 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:37 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:42 Solar eclipse, 2015.09:51 Solar eclipse, 2015.10:00 Solar eclipse, 2015.10:11 Solar eclipse, 2015.10:23 Solar eclipse, 2015.10:33 Solar eclipse, 2015.
08:34 Solar eclipse, 2015.
08:34 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
08:46 Solar eclipse, 2015.
08:46 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
08:55 Solar eclipse, 2015.
08:55 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:02 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:02 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:11 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:11 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:21 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:21 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:25 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:25 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:29 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:29 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:32 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:32 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:37 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:37 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:42 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:42 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
09:51 Solar eclipse, 2015.
09:51 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
10:00 Solar eclipse, 2015.
10:00 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
10:11 Solar eclipse, 2015.
10:11 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
10:23 Solar eclipse, 2015.
10:23 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source
10:33 Solar eclipse, 2015.
10:33 Solar eclipse, 2015. | Source

A Magnificent Event

Despite not witnessing a total eclipse, the partial eclipse was an extraordinary event to observe. The atmosphere was incredible; when the shadow was at its peak, birds flew to roost, and an eerie silence surrounded us. When the sun returned from shadow, the birds burst into what I can only describe as a second dawn chorus. I am very much looking forward to the next eclipse, but I might have to wait a while... the next one to be visible in mainland won't be until 2021!

Map showing the extent of shadow, cast by the Polar Equinox eclipse
Map showing the extent of shadow, cast by the Polar Equinox eclipse | Source

© 2015 Pollyanna Jones

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