Stargazers across UK enjoy ‘magical and unusual' partial solar eclipse
Stargazers in the UK were able to witness a “magical and unusual” event on Tuesday, when a partial solar eclipse was visible in the sky.
Around a quarter of the sun was blocked out from 10.08am until almost midday in London as the moon passed between it and the Earth.
Observers in western Siberia, Russia, had the best views, but the phenomenon could still be seen clearly across various cities in the UK.
One keen observer said she was “off her head” with excitement when watching the partial solar eclipse, and compared it to watching Sir Paul McCartney at Glastonbury Festival.
Mary English, 62, a writer and astrologer from Bath, said she was “away with the fairies” when witnessing the astronomical event.
Ms English watched the event in the garden of the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath alongside a group of four astronomers and members of the public.
She used her own personal viewing glasses made of cardboard which she said cost £5, and also enjoyed the professional equipment at the museum dedicated to astronomer William Herschel.
Ms English told the PA news agency: “I was off my head… I was away with the fairies.
“It’s mind-boggling, it really is, especially if you’re into that sort of thing.
“It would be a bit like when you go to Glastonbury and you see somebody famous… Paul McCartney or something, you go into Glastonbury and you see him in the flesh.
“And this event was like seeing something in the flesh.
“You can read about it and you can look at it online, but to actually witness it with your own eyes, and with a bunch of other people that will also (be) witnessing it, that’s what made it really special for me.”
Jack Kerss, 36, a freelance astronomy and science communicator from London, was originally meant to watch the eclipse from Norway but the trip was cancelled.
Mr Kerss said he was “absolutely mesmerised” to see the eclipse from Greenwich, London.
He said: “It’s easy to get familiar with sights like this when you work as an astronomer.
“You have to remind yourself that you’re witnessing an astonishing natural wonder that most people in human history couldn’t comprehend.
“Now we know exactly what’s happening, some of the mystery is lost, but none of the magic.”
He added: “I’m always really excited to see an eclipse.
“We’re very lucky to be able to witness such an extraordinary spectacle in the cosmos, so I don’t pass up those opportunities when they come around.”
Chris Limb, 52, a web developer and writer from Hove, took a brief break from work to view the eclipse from outside his front door.
He told PA: “I live in Hove near the sea so I usually have line of sight to the sun.
“I have always enjoyed seeing eclipses – it brings home the clockwork nature of the universe and highlights the relative insignificance of the human race despite all our pretensions.
“Whether we were here to witness it or not, this eclipse would still be happening.
“It also adds something magical and unusual to the day, the sun itself changes shape.”