Clouds clear for stunning eclipse show in Galloway

Friday's eclipse by Jim Ryder, Stranraer
Friday's eclipse by Jim Ryder, Stranraer

Galloway stepped out en masse last Friday to witness what was the first – and last – chance for many to see a solar eclipse over the skies of Britain.

Cloud cover hampered many efforts to watch the 9.30am event but some were lucky enough to catch a glimpse through gaps in the haze and were treated to the partial eclipse.

Galloway Forest Astronomical Society gather in Newton Stewart to watch what they can of the eclipse

Galloway Forest Astronomical Society gather in Newton Stewart to watch what they can of the eclipse

Clubs and schools around the region held events and safely ensured sky-gazers were able to enjoy the phenomenon without damaging their eyes.

The Galloway Astronomy Centre and Isle Futures joined forces to organise a special Eclipse Breakfast at St Ninian’s Hall, Isle of Whithorn.

With broad views across the harbour, the location was perfect for seeing the low sunearly on.

The Astronomy Centre brought solar safe telescopes and eclipse glasses to ensure everyone had a safe view of the spectacular eclipse.

With fine rain at 7.30am it looked like the event would be a wash out, but within half and hour the sun was shining through thin cloud. Maybe all those sunny side up eggs being served helped.

About 30 people from the Isle of Whithorn and surrounding areas came to enjoy the food and see the spectacle of the Machars being plunged into a strange grey twilight. Nicknamed the “Smile in the Sky” only seven percent of the sun was left uncovered by 9.35am. With the moon’s shadow moving at over 2000 miles per hour it was not long before the sun brightened to bringing warmth and colour to the Earth again.

The Astronomy Centre explained that the next solar eclipse on 10 June 2021, but as large an eclipse as this one will not occur until 2026. However, later this year there will be a total eclipse of the Moon starting at 2.30am on 28 September.