Millions of people across the Northern Europe witnessed the dazzling solar eclipse early Friday. Scientists said it was the best solar eclipse in years. In an eclipse, a large part of the Earth plunges into darkness as the Moon comes between the Earth and Sun. Faroe Islands, located halfway between Norway and Iceland, offered the most amazing view as the new Moon completely covered the Sun.
Partial eclipse visible throughout Europe, north Asia and northwest Africa
A partial solar eclipse could also be seen in most of Europe, northwest Africa and northern Asia. The U.S. will not be able to enjoy a full solar eclipse until August 21, 2017, according to NASA. Faroe Islands was one of the only two places where the total eclipse could be seen on Friday. The other one was Svalbard, Norway, which is about 500 miles from the mainland.
On the Faroe Islands, the total solar eclipse lasted 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Hotels there were booked solid months in advance. On Svalbard, the Moon completely covered the Sun for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Les Anderson from San Diego, who was in northern Europe to witness the celestial event, told the Associated Press that it was his 10th total eclipse. It was an extraordinary eclipse because the Moon was so-called “supermoon,” meaning it was at its closest point to our planet.
Scientists study the impact of the solar eclipse on atmosphere and grids
Sky watchers were advised not to look directly at it. That’s because looking directly at the Sun could cause serious harm, even during an eclipse. In the UK, the eclipse reached above 83% in all parts, and the darkness peaked at 9:35 AM GMT, reports BBC News. However, viewing opportunities were limited due to cloud cover over much of the UK.
Many scientific agencies had satellites and airplanes gathering video to relay on the TV and Internet. British scientists sought people’s help in their research on the impact of solar eclipses on the atmosphere. A team at the University of Reading is studying how the atmosphere behaves during the eclipse. The Oxford University researchers used the event to study how eclipses affect electricity grids.
— Liam Shaw (@YorkPlaceLiam) March 20, 2015
— Erik Sundheim (@ErikSundheim) March 20, 2015