herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

#Solareclipse2015: Delight for crowds at brief glimpse of solar phenomenon

A 95% eclipse of the sun yesterday morning, seen from Cork city. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
A 95% eclipse of the sun yesterday morning, seen from Cork city. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
The solar eclipse over a cloudy Dublin bay. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

IT looked like it might never happen. A dull, grey sky hung over the city seemingly destined to dash the hopes of hundreds who turned out hoping to see the celestial event of the decade.

Then the clouds parted – for three crucial seconds – and the first solar eclipse in 16 years came into view.

Ireland was expected to be one of the best locations on the planet to get a glimpse of the phenomenon, provided our notoriously overcast weather let up.

While there were clear conditions in many parts of the country, Dublin was engulfed in gloom which deepened as the skies darkened as the moon crossed in front of the sun.

Then at around 9.25am a cheer erupted from the crowd at a viewing event in Trinity College as the partial solar eclipse became briefly visible, allowing the natural phenomenon to shine through.

THRILLED

Despite the event lasting just  three seconds, those who gathered at the college were thrilled to see it.

Una Ni Eigeartaigh said the brief parting of the clouds was “miraculous”.

“It was quite good timing. I was lucky to be able to see it and it was definitely worth it,” she said.

“Of course it was typical of the Irish weather, all we needed was a 10-minute break in the clouds and we didn’t get it,” Dubliner Brian Tyrell said.

“When I woke up this morning I didn’t think I’d see anything but even three seconds was great.”

Despite most appearing happy with witnessing the partial eclipse, others expressed disappointment at its brief appearance.

“It was slightly underwhelming, I would even say an anti-climax. I thought the Sun would put on a better show.

“The fans came out in great numbers but unfortunately they were let down by the poor performance,” Pierce Kehoe from Templeogue said.

“It will be back in around 10 years so I’ll hang around until then to try and catch it again,” he added.

The phenomenon is set to take place again in 2026.

People who were lucky enough not to have their view obstructed by cloud cover were advised to avoid looking directly at the eclipse, either with the naked eye or through telescopes, to avoid eye-damage and blindness.

hnews@herald.ie

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