A partial eclipse of the sun was predicted for today and indeed it happened. Here in Sheffield we had 90% coverage - with just a thin smiley sliver of the sun left behind as the moon moved across the great fiery orb on which our lives depend.
The weather forecast had been promising but as it turned out, our city languished under a blanket of cloud with only occasional breaks in that greyness. On the television, we had tantalising wobbly live coverage of the eclipse as an aeroplane chartered by the BBC flew over the Faroe Islands.
Back in 1999 when we experienced a total eclipse of the sun in south western England, I was all set to drive Ian and Frances down to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall to witness it but cancelled the crazy mission at the last minute because of an unpromising weather forecast.
This morning, as optimum coverage approached, I went out into our garden and hoped for the best. If the sky had been clear and blue there is no way I would have been able to take any photos of the moon crossing the sun but as the cloud blanket thinned a little I was able to snap the shots that accompany this post.
It will be eleven years till we next experience any kind of eclipse in Great Britain and I may well not be here then. Astronomers calculate that there'll be one in America in 2017 but of course our ancestors of long ago never had any idea when they would happen or what if anything they might mean:
“These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend
no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can
reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
scourged by the sequent effects: love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son
William Shakesperare - "King Lear" (1606)