The solar eclipse was supposed to plunge the UK into darkness, but many sky-watchers across the country were sadly left staring at totally grey skies.
While some lucky sky-watchers got to experience the full extent of the event as the moon crossed in front of the sun, covering up to 97% of its face, for everyone else, it was almost total anti-climax which once again saw Britain rueing its fickle weather.
The cosmic ballet continues. Such beauty. Such awe. pic.twitter.com/I7d3xEDOx0— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) March 20, 2015
Me entering the office "ooh, it's definitely darker than 2 mins ago. Eclipse time guys!"... Colleague "they're tinted windows." #stillgrey— Ellie Gellard (@BevaniteEllie) March 20, 2015
It's very exciting to be able to experience 3.30pm on a damp day in January at 9.30am on a damp day in March.— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) March 20, 2015
I was careful not to look at the sun when I took this pic.twitter.com/nSWUp5J34m— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) March 20, 2015
Everyone is very jolly. I suspect it might feel similar if there was a deadly comet approaching Earth. Bit more intense, perhaps.— Michael Rundle (@michaelrundle) March 20, 2015
Solar eclipse looking good from Primrose Hill. pic.twitter.com/hQeoe9yeub— Simon Rice (@simonrice) March 20, 2015
The pupils at my mother-in-law's school, in their special eclipse gear. pic.twitter.com/alPOV2fp6A— Robert Colvile (@rcolvile) March 20, 2015
I think the neighbours went a bit overboard with their eye protectionMarch 20, 2015
Darkness worshippers gather in Kensington Square pic.twitter.com/ly61ACnVYx— Joy Lo Dico (@joy_lo_dico) March 20, 2015
Earlier, excitement was building - although most accepted the cloud was all anyone was actually going to see...
Eclipses: a once-every-few-years reminder to British people that our weather really is very cloudy.— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) March 20, 2015
An eclipse at the equinox. I hope the astrologers have got their special tasseled hats on.— Guy Herbert (@guy_herbert) March 20, 2015
Only an hour until we can start saying “there should be an eclipse happening behind that cloud”— Matt Gray (@unnamedculprit) March 20, 2015
Cloud is fickle & tricky to forecast. If it's overcast when you wake tomorrow don't give up on the eclipse, the cloud can clear— Alex Deakin (@alexdeakin) March 19, 2015
I've got my eye protection ready for tomorrow's eclipse all prepared, it's called Dense UK Cloud Cover.— Jamie (@JamiePaulCullen) March 19, 2015
For those who did get a glimpse, one of the best vantage points was in South Gloucestershire, where amateur astronomer Ralph Wilkins described the "eerie" feeling as a chilly gloom descended and shadows sharpened.
Elsewhere there were reports of birds "going crazy" and flocking to trees, confused by the fading light.
For much of the UK, the eclipse revealed itself as an abnormal level of darkness at 9.30am in the morning while the sun remained hidden behind a blanket of cloud.
But there were pockets of clear skies over Wales, parts of the West Country and the Midlands, and eastern Scotland around Edinburgh.
Around the UK, the proportion of the sun covered by the moon increased towards the north, ranging from 84% in London to 89% in Manchester, 93% in Edinburgh and 97% in Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.
The latest satellite image from forecasters Meteogroup showed cloud in south east England cleared slowly.
In overcast London, the eclipse began at 8.24am, and reached its maximum extent at 9.31am. For observers in Edinburgh, it started at 8.30am and peaked at 9.35 am.
Visibility was poor in London, Eastbourne, Glasgow, Bristol and Sheffield, according to reporters.
Alice Hole (@AliceHole), an artist based in Helston, Cornwall, tweeted: "Eclipse at 9:03 from my homemade pinhole camera in Cornwall."
Meanwhile, in Accrington, Lancashire, Robert Heys (@RobHeys) tweeted: "In Accrington now, taken on an iPhone - brings back memories of a Cornwall trip in '99 with Mick Heys."
Sam Kelsall (@kelsall_s) from Birmingham posted a Vine on Twitter showing the view from inside a pinhole camera of the eclipse.
Coastguards at Ardrossan (@ArdrossanCRT) on the west coast of Scotland tweeted: "One of our team just managed to catch the Solar Eclipse through the cloud at social media HQ."
Meanwhile in Bath, chef and baker Richard Bertinet posted a picture to Instagram (@RichardBertinet) showing the eclipse through a tiny hole in the cloud cover.
Ralph Wilkins, from the London-based Baker Street Irregular Astronomers, who joined a group of sky-watchers outside a school in Hambrook, South Gloucestershire, to witness the eclipse, said: "The sky started clearing just after first contact and we were able to watch the moon glide in front of the sun.
"It was a unique experience - eerie is the right word for it. The shadows started to sharpen and everything began to develop this yellowish hue.
"Whenever there's a solar eclipse in the UK you tend to get cloud, so to be treated to clear skies was really wonderful. It really was beautiful. We were all thrilled."
This time-lapse video showed how it unfolded.
US space agency Nasa posted an animated map on Twitter showing areas that will be affected by the eclipse in Europe, Africa and Asia this morning.
Media and enthusiasts gathered at places such as Stonehenge and the Isle of Lewis to catch a glimpse of the eclipse but were disappointed by the cloud cover obstructing the view.
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