TECH
20/03/2015 05:01 GMT | Updated 20/03/2015 06:59 GMT

Friday Solar Eclipse Pictures: Best Images From Around The UK

Millions have turned out to witness Britain enter the twilight zone of a near-total solar eclipse, despite much of the country being covered by cloud

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.

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.

Solar Eclipse 2015

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.

Times also varied. 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.

The last solar eclipse of such significance occurred on August 11 1999, and was "total" - with 100% of the Sun covered - when seen from Cornwall.

READ MORE:

The last time the UK experienced a solar eclipse was in 1999 and there won't be another total solar eclipse returning to the UK until 2090.

The UK will only see what's known as a partial solar eclipse with those hoping to see day turning to night heading to the Faroe Islands and Svalbard where 100 per cent of the light will be removed.