Europe's Sun Disappears in Rare Event

After a great deal of excitement and speculation, the sun is slowly getting blotted out across Europe and northern Africa, and images of this year’s solar eclipse are starting to emerge. The Guardian reports that initial contact with the celestial event — the 10th solar eclipse of the 20th century and heralded as the most promising eclipse in the United Kingdom since 1999 — was recorded in Madrid and Cornwall Friday morning. For all of the astounding photography appearing, many sky-watchers were disappointed by thick cloud.

BBC optimistically noted that millions of people across the UK and northern Europe would get a glimpse of the “best solar eclipse in years,” despite acknowledging that capricious weather conditions are always a factor. Taking into account the cold front making its way across England, the publication had predicted that only a lucky few might get an unobstructed view — and from social media activity that prediction seems to have been borne out.

Although much of the UK was clouded over (in an event that very few people who have visited the drizzly isles will be surprised by), the view from Denmark’s Faroe Islands seems to have been fairly spectacular. Al Jazeera reports that 8,000 “die-hard eclipse junkies” (who knew that was a thing?) had descended on the island in the lead up to the event — hailing from as far afield as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Africa. A group of 50 Danes had even chartered a Boeing 737 to watch the sun disappear from the skies above the Faroe Islands.

Meanwhile, in France there is drizzle and cloud. Despite having experienced a 75-85 percent obstruction of the sun, the most dramatic effect I can report is that cars are requiring headlights mid-morning. The same looks to be true of London and much of England, where disgruntled Twitter-users recorded their frustration.

But Faroe was not the only spot to strike gold, and Twitter is replete with images of the moon interceding between Earth and sun. From Spain to Scotland, some sky-watchers got lucky and took to Twitter to share their snaps.

And at least the event gave people an excuse to get creative, and stand outside for a while wearing groovy glasses. Fresh air is good for us after all.

All things considered, 2015’s solar eclipse didn't seem nearly as rad or accessible as Australia’s beach-friendly total eclipse in 2012. And Europe, according to Al Jazeera, will have to wait until August 12, 2026 for another solar eclipse. Meanwhile, sky-watchers Stateside will get their chance at seeing the sun disappear on August 21, 2017, according to NASA. For those who feel somewhat let down today — never fear! There’s still hope for a bit of fun sky-gazing, since we’re due for both a Supermoon and Spring Equinox Friday night. Just don’t expect to actually see anything.

Why not simply watch this clip of the Faroe Islands eclipse spectacle instead, relishing the fact that you didn't have to pay oodles of money or suffer Arctic temperatures to see it...

Images: Getty Images (1)