Published: 12:06, 10 June 2021
| Updated: 16:03, 10 June 2021
Well, in truth, Homes Under the Hammer is always entertaining viewing during mid-morning, and the cynics among you may well have considered themselves better off sat indoors watching a house being renovated than hoping for too much from today's celestial dance display.
Watch: Martin Lambdon captured the eclipse from home in Ightham
Now, granted, Kent was never going to be best placed to watch the moon pass in front of the sun - apparently we needed to be in somewhere like Siberia to get the best view.
So a Thanet back garden was as good as it was going to get.
The good news, was that the sun was high and bright in the sky (I know it has a habit of doing that) but, as everyone knows, it's always sunny in Thanet, so my view for most of the hour-long pass was clear and uninterrupted.
Somewhere in my home, amid the junk I've saved over the years, are a set of eclipse viewers - which look like old-school 3D glasses - which were last used for the total solar eclipse of 1999.
Back then I remember standing on a London street and being genuinely gobsmacked as the sun disappeared for a brief moment and the streets near Waterloo were cast into momentary darkness.
I put those specs 'somewhere safe' for the next time I wanted to try and look towards the sun and not accidentally burn my retinas off.
Needless to say, for the first time in 22 years when I've actually needed them, your guess is very much as good as mine as to where they are.
So I needed an alternative. A quick peek on the KentOnline story about the upcoming event and I was able to cunningly fashion a pinhole projector. Which sounds far, far more sophisticated than the piece of Amazon packet I crudely stuck a needle through and the back of a bank statement upon which the tiny image of the sun could be projected.
As the hour approached, I decided to see what the Royal Observatory in Greenwich was offering me by way of its trumpeted live stream of the event on YouTube.
This glorious, august, institution has been peering into the heavens for hundreds of years. And given it's only a short drive from Kent's borders, my assumption was it would have as clear a view as I - but better given it had a telescope trained on it.
As its live stream began, those who had tuned in were met by the academic about to host the event, clearly not alert to it being live as he tried - with mounting frustration - to get everything ready. Oops.
When he finally got everything up and running he switched on the telescopic view we were all waiting to see - a chance to view, up close, the Moon beginning its passage across the face of the Sun.
Except, of course, it was cloudy in London. Which meant it looked like the observatory had kept its lens cap on. It switched to a live stream to the observatory in Exeter. Cloudy there too.
So this poor chap continued to fill (very well, I might add) for over an hour with nothing, live, to illustrate what was going on apart from the rarest of glimpses when the cloud cleared for a few seconds.
For those of us who have struggled with any form of presentation via Zoom during the lockdown, it will have made you feel a hell of a lot better.
Back in sun-drenched Thanet, and to my lasting surprise (and no doubt jaw-dropping shock of my science teachers) my rubbish little 'bit of card and bit of paper' camera was actually working. I could see a slither of the moon in front of the sun!
But, as advertised, it was rather modest at first...but as the hour long pass continued, so the moon could more clearly be seen - albeit projected to the size of a generous atom on my bank statement (which is a coincidence, as that's about the size of my bank balance).
As it reached its most pronounced coverage I made the mistake of strolling through from my desk to have a look and glanced up to see if the sun was still clear of clouds. As a result I looked straight at the ruddy thing and was then left blinking away a sun-shaped spot from my eyes...which meant trying to see it the partial eclipse in all its minute glory was even more challenging than before.
A school-boy error. Knew I should have kept those glasses somewhere safe!
Granted, it wasn't the sky-dimming splendour of 1999. Granted, I wasn't expecting much. But the little I could see was impressive.
But best of all? The Thanet skies, a depressing bank statement and a piece of packaging provided me with a better view than the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. And that may just be a first.
And this is how it looked with the proper kit...
At the opposite end of the county, in the village of Ightham, an amateur astronomer and all-round science enthusiast managed to capture clear pictures of the eclipse.
Martin Lambdon used his Celestron Evolution 6 telescope and a Canon camera to track and photograph the alignment of the sun and moon this morning.
The 58-year-old, who has previously travelled to the Caribbean to witness a solar eclipse, said: "I’m a scientist engineer by trade, astronomy is a very part-time hobby for me, but I do have a telescope that I have travelled with a little bit, so knowing there’s an eclipse you want to try and capture it.
“Firstly what I have to do is put a reducer on it to shrink the magnification, then the second step is to align it to the sun so you can actually point it at the sun.
“That is very, very difficult because you have to put a solar filter on the front because of the sun’s brightness, to protect it and yourself from the glare.
“The way you do that is to point your telescope roughly in the position of the sun, and you use the shadow that the telescope casts behind it. When the shadow is minimised you know you are roughly pointing towards the sun.
“Then you can have a look into the telescope, whilst it’s got its protection on the front, to align it.
"The technology is great on these things, once you have it aligned in the middle of the screen then the telescope will track it automatically.”