BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature: Specials: Total Eclipse  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Total Eclipse Tuesday, 24 August, 1999, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
The eclipse - how was it for you?
BBC News Online received an enormous number of your emails describing the eclipse. This is the first of three pages.

Click here to read the latest emails from the UK

Click here to read the latest emails from around the world

Your Reaction - emails and pictures that arrived during the eclipse:

The rooftops of central London - just off Oxford Street - were covered with people. It was like something out of Mary Poppins...
Richard Thompson, UK

Coventry- A very strange feeling and sight, dusk falling late in the morning!! It was surprising as to how cold it went. A fantastic view never to be forgotten!!
Jeremy Aston, England

Patrick Hickey captured these images in his back garden in Edinburgh

Disappointing in Milton Keynes. We were told it would be 95% and get quite dark but it just went a bit dark and left you with a feeling of "was that it?" and why did we bother looking for anything.
Debbie Fewings, Milton Keynes, UK

Gets things into perspective, doesn't it!
Carlo Scattini, UK

The Creative Team at Kingston Internet, Hull, sent in the view from their office window.
An eerie chill, rushing wind - the strangest feeling. Looking forward to 2090!!!
David Challinor, Sutton, Britain

To think that at the same time millions of people would be looking at the Sun at the same time was a thought within itself and to be able to see this once in a lifetime experience was just truly amazing.
Ronnie Fisher, Kent,England

Good clear view in Loudwater, South Bucks, UK. Very sunny day, fairly clear skies. The light got dimmer but even at 11.15 it was dull but still very sunny with well defined shadows.
Gary Clark, UK

Only 85% up here in the north east - but at least we had clear skies!! My advice - look through a compact disc.
Al MacLeod, UK

It was beautiful and can only be described as a nuclear dawn!!!
Robert Black, UK

Totally underwhelming.
Dave, England

It was really surprising at first, I didn't think I would be scared but I was. Oddly though I found it a really arousing experience
Andrew Nayland, UK

The clouds broke just in time for all of us in Norwich to see a wonderful partial eclipse!
Sarah B, Norwich, England

From Coventry, it got quite cold and semi-dark, The shadows were distorted. It looked quite dramatic through eclipse glasses.
Tony Colclough, UK

The University grounds in Leeds were full of people anticipating this great eclipse...all we got was cloud and 30 seconds of the whole event. I suppose we should be used to the weather in this country but I hope people enjoyed the experience wherever they were!
Alyson Dyson, Leeds, UK

What do I think? What can I say! Wow! What else is there to say about such an experience?
Dave Ashcroft, Scotland

Colin Myles from Cambridge, UK, sent in his view of the eclipse
For 95% coverage here in Bristol, I was expecting it to get slightly darker than it does on an overcast summer evening. What a disappointment.
Matt, UK

The sky went as though it was twilight and it was colder with a funny feel to the light. Everything went quiet and still .We watched the eclipse in a bucket of water lined with a black bag it was great.
Thomas Edgar, England

Here in Bexley, just east of London, a small dark cloud obscured the sun at 11:15. The timing could not have been better. We were able to look directly at a dim but pin-sharp image of a crescent sun for about 15 seconds. It was beautiful.
Chris Davies, England

As the light dimmed until only a sliver of the sun remained, there was practically no sound. The sight was spectacular, but the dimming of the light was not as complete as we had hoped. Altogether though, Coventry had a pretty good view!
Gordon McKenzie, UK

Here in Guildford, Surrey, we apparently had better skies than down in SW England. From about 10:50 a change became noticeable in the quality of the light, like looking through slightly tinted glasses. This grew stronger as the eclipse progressed, while with the aid of pinholes (for which a long 'focal length' - e.g. projected on the ground - seemed to give better views) and even a sexton which one of us had brought, we could observe the phenomenon itself). The 'sunglasses effect' was most marked, as was the obvious drop in temperature. What was surprising was how much light there still was even when the sun was clearly seen to be over 90% obscured. 5/10 from me!
Jonathan Hutchins, UK

I stood in London, Regents Park and mainly saw some clouds.
Matthew Barnett, UK

The last solar eclipse I saw on television ended with everyone going blind and being eaten by ten-foot gladioli, called triffids. This eclipse has me scared witless and no one is safe. I have taken to the mountains and am currently hiding out in a cave. No large flowering plant is going to eat me alive!!!
Mike Groves, England

A light covering of high cloud made for ideal conditions, reducing glare and enabling the remarkable sight of the moon obscuring nearly 90% of the sun. Under trees myriad crescents of sunlight flickered as everywhere became bathed in a soft pewter-grey light.
Tim Hooper, Huntingdon, Cambs, UK

Crescents reflect on the ground as a result of the partially eclipsed sun shining through a tree in Eastbourne, UK - P Jones
I saw the moon cover the sun and come out the other side in a matter of minutes. I looked through a welding hat for a few seconds each time. It was amazing and the way it went overcast was just fab.
Sandra, Ireland

Oxford skies were perfect - superb views
A Clarke, UK

Most of my office came out in expectation of a once in a lifetime event. I must say it was a big disappointment, as here in Surrey, apart from a slight temperature drop, nothing much happened. Perhaps I will recreate the event tonight by sitting in the fridge and passing a lollipop in front of a torch.
A Pearce, UK

A rare occasion when you can actually feel the magic and sheer presence of space and the planetary movements first hand. What a fantastic experience.
Ian Gow, England

Being from Ireland, and being quite used to adverse weather conditions, it's quite obvious that the eclipse was something extraordinary. In a sky full of overcast and drab-looking cumulus clouds its no wonder that this phenomenon extracted no more than just a nonchalant gesture from most of the crowd that gathered outside to 'marvel'. Just before the total eclipse the clouds broke, and we were treated to a two-minute spell of natures greatest wonder. I believe I will invest most of my savings in the faltering cryogenic market, to ensure I will be around for the next one...
Stephen, Ireland

Boring! A big non-event. It went cold, it didn't go dark. I've seen worse darkness and been colder in the middle of a day during winter storms.
Ric, UK

In Dublin, we were lucky to get a break in the clouds to see the partial eclipse. We found a mucky pond and could clearly see it's reflection. A once in a lifetime experience.
Paul Chandler, Ireland

Glad we saw the almost total eclipse as we shall not be around for the next one.
All at Clifton Library Nottingham, England

The streets of London were amazing - a real sense of spirit, just like the blitz again.
Simon, UK

A non-event, just like a December afternoon before it rains.
Kath Evans, Bristol, England

Billy Ackers emailed this image from just outside Manchester UK
Here in Nottingham the sky cleared fantastically so that at the maximum eclipse there was a brilliant view. It went quite distinctly cold too. I had a look through various types of welding masks, and at the images from various pinhole cameras, including the images cast through the leaves of a tree onto the ground. The best view of all though was through welding glass, looking at the reflection from the still surface of a bucket of water. The image was much finer and detailed than looking at the sun directly, as much of the glare was reduced.
Peter Lewis, United Kingdom

From Bath University, the Sun appeared briefly through the clouds, as an ever-narrowing crescent. By five past eleven, only a thin arc remained, which seemed to rotate over the next 10-15 minutes as the Moon passed through its point of maximum obstruction. During this period, the sky as a whole was noticeably darkened, everything appearing as if in twilight; colours were muted. Shortly after this the clouds closed in again, and the show was over.
Dan Soper, UK

I live in Taunton but work in London and foolishly decided that I would try and see the eclipse from London given that it would have taken me days to get home. I regret that decision now, all we saw here was a marginal 'dusk' effect with a bit of a chill in the air. The birds were a bit phased though and all went home to roost.
Simon Howat, England

Complete waste of time. What on earth was all the fuss about?
John Haines, UK

Forget Cornwall, we got a fantastic view of our partial eclipse up here in sunny York.
Mark Kent, UK

We watched outside our offices in the centre of Swindon, the best bit was watching the moon move slowly over the sun. When we did go outside to experience the total eclipse it was rather disappointing as the light just appeared to do, and seemed like any other day in Swindon.
Dan Croxen-John, Swindon Uk

The eclipse was spectacular, even in Glasgow, where I am told we only had 80% totality. I am sure that many people would have found it an uplifting and amazing experience. The shadows cast on the ground and the eerie appearance of the sky, is truly indescribable. I have decided that when I win the lottery I will become an "eclipse chaser".
Johanna Speirs, Britain

Saw 85% eclipse quite clearly in spite of cloud
Peter Mercer, N. Ireland

Great view here in Newcastle. One thing that surprised me though was the huge rainbow-like effect around the sun's circumference. Can anyone explain this?
M. Jones, UK

Excellent through binoculars with filters fitted. Got about 92 percent and some good breaks in the cloud cover
Stu Brierley, Warrington UK

We had very cloudy skies here in Chippenham but just at the point of totality the clouds parted and we were able to see the eclipse. It was a truly magical experience.
Ann, Chippenham UK

Everyone poured in the office car park to view the eclipse. We were lucky to get about 95% coverage. Whilst it got darker, it was more noticeable how much cooler it had gotten.
Faiz Rehman, UK

I was looking through an office window along with colleagues - it barely darkened at all even though the sun was down to a fuzzy crescent - a real letdown. We haven't even had the lights on in the office.
L Smith, Edinburgh, Scotland

Everyone in Manchester is gathered in the streets around Albert Square and the town Hall as if it is New Years Eve. People are hanging out of office windows and watching the moon gradually creep across the lower part of the sun from right to left, but with a tiny crescent of light remaining on top of (as we have no 'totality'!). The dusky light combined with the volume of people standing around in the streets for no purpose makes the whole city seem unreal. I suspect there will be a lot of people who don't make it back to work!
Dan Williams, Manchester, UK

Fantastic! Only saw it briefly by chance through a gap in the clouds. Will not forget it.
George White, Drax, England

In Guildford, Surrey, we watched a reputedly 96% partial eclipse. It went a bit dark, but no darker than a rainy day, and got quite cold, so the phenomenon was not very apparent, but looking at the sun we could see the movement as it was lost and we were left with a small golden glow. Although not amazing, it was certainly a sight worth seeing. The highlight for me was when you could see the moon had moved and the sun coming out the other side. I only wish I'd been in Cornwall. Was/is it as good as everyone hoped, down there?
Alanna, England

Saw a partial view through the cloud. Was expecting total darkness, looked only like a very dull day. Enjoyed the scene and watched the moon's outline cover the sun gradually. Although I did not see the total eclipse, thought it was spectacular. Thanks to the BBC for their coverage on the web.
Jennifer McFarland, Northern Ireland

I saw the sun go a bit. It went a bit dark and cold and my mummy was scared so I held her hand.
Simon, (aged 10) UK

We climbed out of the office, and onto the roof to have a look at the eclipse, It grew very dark, and sharing a viewer we could see the sun covered almost completely by the moon. Amazing experience just so brief. I'm hoping my friends holidaying in Plymouth have had a chance to see the eclipse, it looked extremely cloudy on the web cam.
Des, London, UK

As the eclipse was almost total. A Jumbo Jet passed close to us on its way out of Heathrow. The light from the almost obscured sun threw a huge shadow of the jet across some thin cloud. The shadow was something I had never seen in such sharp relief before.
Alan Goswell, England

Only 85% up here in the north east - but at least we had clear skies!! My advice - look through a compact disc.
Al MacLeod, UK

It got very cold and I could see the sun as a crescent through the glasses, like the moon.
Jo James, Scotland

We saw a much better eclipse than the one in Cornwall, apparently, it was cloudy there, but we had a perfect sky. We may not have seen totality, but it was brill. I thank the B.B.C very much for showing the live coverage.
Jen Hammy, Birmingham, England

I must say, I thought it would be much colder and darker. Still... A Once in a lifetime thrill!
Dan Norcott, Farnborough, UK

I looked through a floppy disc and could see everything perfectly.
Chris Lake, England

Did not see very much. It did not get that dark either. It just looked like it was getting ready to rain.
Sharon Rodger, Stirling, Scotland

I was in Leeds, working at the University library, and many staff went on the roof to view the eclipse. It was very disappointing! The clouds meant that we could view the crescent without damaging our eyes, but it only went slightly dark and that was all.
Liz Townson, England

We all watched it in Aberdeen from the hospital. We started watching it about 10.15pm using a projection box and we saw a good image of part of the eclipse. It was quite cloudy later on and we got a very good view through the clouds of it. It was very dull and cold throughout although at the time of totality the eclipse was not total for us. In fact it never fully covered the sun. It is now 11.32pm and it is now starting to move off on the sun and it is getting brighter. It was a great experience as I did not expect to be able to experience it. All the consultants, nurses, researchers watched it together.
Mariesha Jaffray, Aberdeen

Excellent. The cloud cover was such that you could look through it without hurting your eyes and see the outline of the sun. The crescent just got smaller and smaller and then they suddenly started to part again. The whole of Tottenham Court Road came to a standstill!
Chris Brown, UK (london)

The first thing we noticed was the temperature dropping, and it is still chilly for an August day. Then it was as though we were all looking through the same set of sunglasses as the light dimmed and the shadows sharpened. We were in a path of 95 percent totality, in Crawley, Sussex, and were all surprised by how light it has stayed - a revelation about the power of the sun even when obscured. A marvellous experience
Zeba Clarke, UK

It was surreal, since I was a little kid I have wanted to try the pin hole experiment... it was well worth waiting 24 years. If you are get the chance then drop everything and go out and see it...
Graeme, UK

Southampton - we saw nothing!
Nicola Blick, UK

Up in London (Smithfield) saw very little due to cloud base, managed to see first stages with the aid of a mirror, reflecting it onto the wall of the office!
Jocelyn, UK

What a breath taking experience ! Despite the lack of totality, there still was a great sight of the eclipse from the naked eye. For a split moment, just after the eclipse, you could see the shadows begin to form and the sun rays began to hit us. Who said science can't be fun !!!!
Gary Tuttlebee, Colchester, England

In London, there was some champagne being popped, and crowds in all the central squares. Amazingly, due to the clouds, there were many, who felt they could look directly at the eclipse. Let's hope there aren't too many injuries from it all.
Oliver Brew, UK

It was a bit of a disappointment to be perfectly honest; I watched in Norwich and saw the beginnings of the eclipse, but then cloud cover obscured the full eclipse. It didn't even go completely dark, just a little cold. You could see birds flying home to roost, but I'm sure they weren't fooled for long!
Dominque Guyot, UK

A bit disappointing really seen from here (about 80%). I expected it to get much darker but it was much like a cloudy day, having been warned that cars would need to use headlights.
Simon Clarke, Spain

Wow. The sun disappeared for a couple of minutes. A real life-changing experience. Back to work people.
Karl Hayward-Bradley, England.

Fab. Croydon came out onto the streets to watch. Every tower block had huddles of people outside staring into the sky and using pinhole cameras. The sun side of most offices were full of people looking skyward. As predicted the crescent shape of the sun was projected onto the ground thousands of times by light filtering through trees.
Simon Bryant, United Kingdom

From Loch Tay in Scotland the eclipse is visible through very thin cloud and breaks in the cloud. Although very bright, watchers are being tempted to take a 'quick look' and describe the eclipse as a dark shadow covering the sun. All are keen to stop work and watch this amazing phenomenon pass in front of their eyes. The shadow is moving from left to right and has at a maximum covered almost 80% of the sun. It is now dipping lower on the sun and we expect the skies to begin to lighten again and the air to warm a little as the temperature appears to have dropped.
Phil Simspon, Scotland

We kept the office open at the University of Central England Student Services - in Birmingham but looked out of the windows and because of the cloud we could see the outline of the partial eclipse!!! Here in Birmingham it got very dark as if there was a huge thundercloud overhead and yet the sky looked like a normal summers one - white clouds and plenty of blue!! Our receptionist determined to stay at her desk - but it transpired not because she was consumed by duty but because she was terrified the world would end!!!
Ruth Lawton, Birmingham

From Bedfordshire outside the office it could be plainly seen. From inside the BBC tv coverage was appalling. Hardly any coverage on the sun but endless presenters yapping on. The license fee should be halved and the BBC staff reduced by 50%presententers
John P. Glasgow, England

Cold here at max eclipse, eerie light quality. Dawn chorus was heard.
Andy Jones, N London

No birds went quiet, no skies went dark, it got a little colder, hope it goes better for my great grandchildren in 2090.
Gary Jacobs - Watford

Just looks like your normal Scottish summer day - in fact, it's nice to see the sun for a change!!
Andy Wall, Scotland

Very Cold, unusual bright light, like a halogen lamp. Saw eclipse through welders glass and saw 85% of the sun covered.
Graeme Walker, Scotland

Well we didn't see all that much, it went darker, but we weren't over the path of totality. It was a bit of an anticlimax really.
Mark Koszler, England

A pinky hue and a soft hush brushed across the campus. A weird and wonderful aura.
Lyn Honnan, Scotland

We took early lunch and went to a playing field. Kicking a football around lent a surreal feeling to the event as the light fell and began to look like we were viewing the world through a polarised lens.
Anthony Clark, UK

Our kind employers allowed us to watch the eclipse all the way through We are based in Banbury and the atmosphere was eerie and the crescents were clearly seen on the floor changing with spectacular patterns. A chill came into the air and it is still extremely cold here, the birds stopped singing and it was dead calm, a sudden gush of wind came across from the left and the temperature dropped even more. A totally amazing experience and even though the special glasses were used all of use are complaining of sore eyes. Our one in a lifetime experience is now over and we are all glad to have seen it.
Sue Dickens, England

Very disappointing. It was no more than a cloudy day!
John Inshaw, Scotland

The solar eclipse was fantastic as it provided me with an extended fag break!
Matthew Howell, England

Big excitement changed to Big disappointment as oooh it got a little bit darker and then ...well nothing happened ! Maybe in the wrong part of the country for this but it just seemed like a cloudy day !
Chris Welch, UK

I saw lots of clouds!
Rishi Krishna, England

Thought it would go a lot darker, but we got a good view of it near York. Like looking through tinted glass.
Nicki Hodgson, Yorkshire UK

Saw: Nothing, just a sparkly to an overcast bluish sky;
Feel: A chill in the air, more so - even though it's Scotland!
Hear: Lots of people standing about looking silly!!
Peter Ware, Edinburgh, Scotland

Even though I am in Manchester and only have part of the eclipse, I saw it through the hole in the paper, I still think it is really MAGNIFICENT to see!!!
Henk Penning, UK

What a sight despite the cloud cover you could still it, I'm at work and everyone in the building came out to see it.
Darrin Garnham, Guernsey Channel Islands

I saw nothing except for black clouds which everyone else said was the moon, I don't believe it was.
Lesley Hancocks

It was amazing to see the whole of our company outside watching the most amazing sight this century in our skies. It has made my 40th birthday the best!!!
Sue Clarke

"Day becomes night"? More like "day becomes gloomy". Er.. that's it? What an anti-climax.
Martin Devlin, UK

Not very much happened. We watched through a hole in paper projected onto another sheet. Some neighbouring office workers watched through special spectacles. It was a very unspectacular event. Perhaps it will be more spectacular on television. The general feeling seemed to be "was that it?"
Linda Robinson, England

In Teesside we had a spectacular view with almost 80% coverage of the sun in perfect clear conditions
Louis Cifer, England

Fantastic! Fairly clear skies in West Yorks and a couple of CD's helped me see it clearly-shame it was only partial though-it didn't go half as dark as I expected!
Rich, England, West Yorks

The whole event was spectacular i didn't have any protection for my eye's, although I didn't look at it for long spells, I'll never forget it. Excellent.
John Clancy, Ireland

My name is Zain, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates . For the past 20 years I am your listener. Today, on the day of this century's last solar eclipse I got Internet connection. On this occasion I would like to let you know that I used the floppy diskette film to watch the hot sun and it is very clearly visible the orange-red sun surface without any strain for our priceless eyes Here the eclipse is by around 15:00 hrs Local time
Zain and Rasheed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

I have been watching this rather incredible event on and off now for 15 minutes Here in Cagliary, the sky is clear and without a single cloud to be found anywhere. The sun is being covered rather quickly and the total eclipse should be a rather dramatic sight for ones eyes. Along with protected lenses, w are also using your recommended "cardboard box eclipse viewer".
Nova Simpson, Italy

A disappointment. It didn't even go dark.
Dawn Utley, UK

Working at school, but stopped to watch the eclipse. Freezing cold, but simply amazing!!
Daniel Harrison, England

It all went dark - it was fantastic! So exciting. I left work early as I thought it was home time, it's not only cats & dogs that get confused!
Markie, Northern Ireland

Loads of clouds...
Matthew Flint, UK (Harrogate)

Aberdeen 11am Cloudy but we've just had 5 mins watching the sun being blotted out by the moon. At least we've seen it here
M Bayman, Scotland

Got a wonderful view now in Carmarthenshire, feel very pleased.
Shan lones, Wales

Hello Talking point, Here at our office even through it is cloudy we have been able to get our first glimpse of the eclipse. We have the glasses and paper with pin holes, which works extremely well. What an exciting experience. Well better get back to work. Just thought we would drop you a line to let you know our experience. Best regards
Jackie Blake, High Wycombe, UK

The weather's being kind to us here in Stafford. There is some light cloud in the sky but it isn't obscuring the sun. Using the viewers, a chunk of the sun has now disappeared and it's getting visibly darker. The moon is about 30% over the sun. It's quite eerie - I feel as though it's getting late and that I should be at home!
Simon Skelton, UK

As I am in U.S., I have to get what I can from television & computer. An option I have not had in the past. This is to me one, of the more positive assets of the internet.
James N Sproule, USA

We are just sitting here in my office and have set up the pin method to view the eclipse, so far the sun if shining directly down and we can see this event happening. Hoping for another 20 - 30 minutes of cloud less sunshine!!!
Stephen J.Sharkey, Ireland

In Horsted Keynes near Haywards Heath, Sussex, we have a clear blue sky and can see the partial image very clearly !
Chris Philpot Age 9

It's amazing. It's now 10.15 and already the sun looks like a ritz cracker with a little nibble taken out of it!
Colin Williams, UK

The last place that I would be during the Solar Eclipse would be in Cornwall. What scares me is that some-one might inadvertently look up even for a few seconds and damage their eyesight forever. The eclipse can be seen on television and on the Internet. Please be content with that.
Susannah, Australia

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

Links to more Total Eclipse stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Total Eclipse stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes