The solar eclipse as shot from Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, UK
I waited since the age of 8 years old for the 1999 total eclipse only for it to be covered in cloud. That was down south of the country. Where I was today, in the north east, the eclipse was going to reach 92% totality. However it looked likely to be a repeat performance of 1999!
Watching the weather reports all week and being told to expect cloud it kind of deflated me a little. I had prepared by making my own solar filters ready for the event (using a Cokin P system with a small piece of perspex and a foil blanket, the kind used by marathon runners after a race, cut to wrap around the perspex 3 times. You can view the “How-To” video I made on my YouTube channel)
I rose this morning, 20th March 2015, to be greeted by the dreaded cloud as forecast and almost didn’t bother. However after watching the cloud movement and then looking in the opposite direction I could see that a huge patch of blue sky was heading my way. Even before the clear patch the cloud was breaking up and thinning out so I got everything in place and at 08:30 I started to see the sun popping through the clouds and my eclipse experience began.
At first it was hard as there were still quite a few clouds and I was just managing to grab a shot here and there. I went off to make a cup of coffee and upon my return the sun was popping out more and more. When the eclipse reached its 92% maximum for where I was the clouds seemed to know what to do and just opened a small gap to reveal the “smile” of the thin slip of sun showing from behind the moon. It was the only shot I really wanted to get and somebody up there must have known it!
The Sun smiles form behind the moon during the total eclipse of March 20th 2015.
After that the clouds dispersed pretty much completely here in Gateshead for about 5 minutes and then returned, but this time they were not so thick and were spaced out more with long clear periods.
Overall the experience was fantastic and I am so glad I held out like I did, I would have kicked myself if I had just taken that first look at the clouds and gone back to bed!! Next total eclipse that can be seen from these shores (only partial though)…11 years away! If you are going on holiday in August 2026, book up for Spain or north eastern Portugal and you’ll see, weather permitting, the total eclipse.
The Solar Eclipse 2015 shot from Gateshead, Tyne &Wear UK