Home   Kent   News   Article

Disappointment as cloud cover casts a shadow over Kent's hopes of seeing the solar eclipse 2015


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

The skies darkened and birds stopped singing - but many were left disappointed as clouds obscured Kent's view of the eclipse today.

A shadow descended as people looked skywards in the hope of seeing the rare phenomenon, which got under way at 8.24am and lasted two hours.

But despite astronomers staying hopeful until the last minute that we might experience some of the eclipse, the blanket of cloud refused to budge.

Video: Cloud prevents Kent from seeing the eclipse: Jem Collins reports

Forecasts say the cloud will clear later today - but that will be little consolation for those who turned out to watch the event.

Grey skies may have cast a shadow on people's hopes, but many who posted on Twitter saw the funny side.

Gavin Lacey, of Mid-Kent Astronomical Society, said yesterday: "Hopefully we'll have a break in the cloud at some point so people will be able to see a bit of it."

South East Kent Astronomical Society chairman Martin Hemsley agreed.

He said: "The weather is looking a bit iffy, which is disappointing because we don’t get to experience it very often.

The last solar eclipse, photographed by Paul Armitage of the Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
The last solar eclipse, photographed by Paul Armitage of the Mid-Kent Astronomical Society

“It’s nice to get good images, and we will film it and then create a picture from the best moment. But it will rely on the cloud thinning, so we are just keeping our fingers crossed.”

Reporter Jem Collions speaks to Ian Hargreaves of the Mike Kent Astronomical Society

Viewers in Kent were hoping to see the moon cover about 85% of the sun, making this the most impressive solar eclipse since 1999.

Herne Bay Amateur Astronomical Society held an expert-led session at Herne and Broomfield Country Park.

Elsewhere, Mid-Kent Astronomical Societies set up an array of specially protected telescopes for public viewing on the beach at Grain Village.

The solar eclipse will start at 8.24am. Stock picture
The solar eclipse will start at 8.24am. Stock picture

Ian Hargraves, Chairman of Mid-Kent Astronomical Society, said: "It's very strange. In 1999 in Kent it went chilly and very quiet and the sky went a very eerie colour.

"The birds definitely got ready to roost. The light is not like at dusk or twilight, it's different, and the atmosphere is quite difficult to explain.

"It's very well worth experiencing."

Total eclipses only occur due to a strange set of coincidences, when the sun and the moon both appear to be the same size in the sky even though they are vastly different sizes and located many millions of miles away from each other.

Astronomy fans turned out to events in different parts of the county, and Mid-Kent Astronomical Societies set up an array of specially protected telescopes for public viewing on the beach at Grain Village.

The first phase of the eclipse, known as first contact, was at 08:24, with mid eclipse at 09.30am, and the last phase, or final contact, at 10.41am.

Birds may start to roost as light levels fall during the eclipse
Birds may start to roost as light levels fall during the eclipse

This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

Eclipse facts

  • Eclipses repeat every 18.6 years, in what is known as the Saros cycle
  • The fact we experience solar eclipses at all is a total coincidence - if any of several factors were just slightly different, we would not see eclipses at all
  • Staring at an eclipse without protection can cause total blindness
  • A total solar eclipse can last as long as seven and a half minutes
  • Temperatures can fall by 20 degrees during an eclipse, making it noticeably colder
  • In about 500 million years, solar eclipses will not be noticeable because the Moon is slowly drifting away from Earth at a rate of about 4cm a year
  • Eclipse comes from the ancient Greek word ekleipsis, for being abandoned
  • When observed at different points in space other than the Earth's surface, the Sun can be eclipsed by bodies other than the Moon. Examples include the crew ofApollo 12watching theEarth eclipse the Sunin 1969
  • Surviving records have shown that the Babylonians and the ancient Chinese were able to predict solar eclipses as early as 2500 BC
  • From the Scottish islands of Skye and Orkney people could see about 97% of the Sun covered

Stories you might have missed

Two arrests after man stabbed in chest

Mum’s park horror as baby trapped by falling branch

Warning as scarlet fever cases rocket in Kent

Lorry driver jailed for bid to smuggle £3.8m of cocaine


Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More