Today we had a little bit of excitement. A solar eclipse occurred over much of Northern Europe, including the UK. I got up all excited, and read the latest news. It had already been reported in a Eurosceptic newspaper that the eclipse might be obscured by some French, yup FRENCH smog. And today I read in the rather alarmist New York Times that thanks to the quantity of solar panels in use in Europe, something close to a state of emergency had been declared, and people had been recommended to make sure their radios had batteries in, and that they had enough food to last any power cuts.
Well, I went to the local common to try and get some pictures. I knew from the last eclipse, in 1999, that some birds tended to stop tweeting as the sun goes “in”, and I went to the park to experience at maximum advantage the sound of silence.
Back in 1999 the eclipse was towards the middle of the day, and I was living in the midlands at the time. I remember a fair amount of excitement on the day, and plenty of live TV and radio reports. It was a sunny day, which made the eventual contrast as the moon moved in place more memorable, and I do recall some of the street lamps coming on.
So anyway, back to today. When I left the house I knew that all was lost! There was a significant amount of cloud cover – but I headed off to The Common nevertheless. When I got there, I realised that I would have a further problem. It’s “winter” here, and thanks to the ponds and streams that dot the common there was even more “cloud” in the form of mist rising from the ground.
This first picture was taken a few minutes before the eclipse was due to have maximum…oh, I don’t know what the expression is…maximum exposure?
And then, at 9.31, when the sun was most obscured:
Another photo, of some of the birds who had clearly not got the memo, and decided to tweet throughout the eclipse:
So, there we have it. A not very exciting eclipse. The next one is due in 2026, and then there will be a “total” eclipse in 2080. Can’t wait! I’ll only be 114 years old then. Everyone is invited to the party!