The splendour of a solar eclipse (clouds permitting)
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent and i. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; four times highly commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigations into the tobacco industry. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Wednesday 05 January 2011
People across Europe awoke yesterday to the spectacular sight of a partial solar eclipse, when the Moon nudges between the Earth and the Sun, making our star appear as a burning crescent.
In Britain, however, cloudy skies obscured the view for many people, though there were some spectacular sightings of the phenomenon through hazy cloud in East Anglia and the Pennines.
The partial eclipse threw a shadow of the Moon on the Earth which covered an area from northern Algeria to Sweden, sweeping from west to east. In Western Europe the partial eclipse occurred at dawn, whereas in China the spectacle took place at sunset.
For anyone in southern Britain lucky enough to see through the clouds, they saw 70 per cent of the Sun being swallowed up at just after 8am, whereas in northern Sweden the Moon took a 90 per cent "bite" out of the Sun.
For Europeans, the next chance of seeing such a spectacular partial eclipse of the Sun comes on 20 March 2015, though there will be other partial solar eclipses this year in other parts of the world.
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