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Shetland lucky to see stunning solar eclipse

The solar eclipse as seen from Gulberwick - Photo: Austin Taylor
The solar eclipse as seen on 20 March 2015 from Gulberwick - Photo: Austin Taylor

SHETLAND was briefly plunged into semi darkness on Friday when the solar eclipse reached its maximum of 97 per cent.

Despite the dull and misty conditions earlier on, fortune smiled when the moon almost completely blocked out the sun at 9.43am.

A break in the clouds at just the right time allowed hundreds of stargazers to enjoy the rare phenomenon.

A few enthusiastic amateur astronomers gathered at a council house in Mossbank to relay footage of the eclipse to a larger party at Sumburgh lighthouse where Shetland Amenity Trust was staging a public event for the occasion.

As the clouds started lifting just in time to allow a first glimpse of the sun, the mood among the nine or ten people gathered around the telescope improved markedly.

The event was streamed live on the local www.macastrofix.info website as well as at www.shetnews.co.uk

The sun partially obscured by the moon's shadow - Photo: Chris Brown

Treasurer of the Shetland Science Outreach Group Paul Bendix said that although solar eclipses were regular natural phenomenon, they always caught people’s imagination.

“A tremendous experience, I am not likely to see another one of these up here again. So, a big tick in the box!” he said.

“The next solar eclipse in the UK is 15 years or so away, so they are unusual which is why when the opportunity comes along you have to take it.”

To mark the event, Dr Giles Hammond of the institute for gravitational research at the University of Glasgow will give a talk about the eclipse and the International Year of Light 2015 at the Shetland Museum & Archives on Friday evening, starting at 7.30pm.

We will share more photos of the eclipse on our Facebook site. Please email your photos to news@shetnews.co.uk 

... and a photo of the total eclipse taken by Kathy and Stuart Hubbard in Svalbard. Many thanks for sending this across!