Pupils at a north Northumberland school caught glimpses of one of nature’s fascinating phenomena as they watched the near-total eclipse this morning.
As in other places in the county, there was plenty of cloud cover at Warkworth First School which threatened to ruin the view, but the youngsters, who weren’t alive during the country’s last sighting of a solar eclipse in 1999, still enjoyed the event. In particular, they were amused that the birds started to roost as the light faded.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and earth. Due to a coincidence of positioning, the moon exactly covers the sphere of the sun, thus creating the total eclipse, as seen in the UK in 1999.
This time, however, the UK was not under the area of totality, but Northumberland, being further north, was well-placed to see an eclipse of up to about 95 per cent coverage. It happened over a two-hour period starting at 8.30am when the moon made first contact with the disc of the sun before maximum coverage occured at about 9.35am, when the light became eerie and the temperature was noticeably colder.
The area of totality, where a total eclipse could be observed, lay within a wide corridor sweeping across the Northern Atlantic, North Sea and Norwegian Sea. The Faroe Islands were one of the very few land masses that fall within this corridor. The only other islands in the path of totality were the Svalbard Islands located midway between Norway and the North Pole. The next total solar eclipse will not take place in Europe until August 12, 2026.