It's the start to the spring today, and with the vernal equinox came a celestial event unlike those in common occurrence. But while flocks of sky-watchers and astronomers ventured north into the Arctic, where a total solar eclipse would be visible for the last time until 2026 in continental Europe, many were left disappointed at the less than "thrilling" display.
Crowds gathered in most major cities across Europe this morning, with some even venturing off to Svalbard, Norway in the Faroe Island archipelago of the Arctic, but with the cosmic event and the start of the spring also came the clouds that covered most of the sky over Northern Europe just in time to shroud the rare event. It was anticipated for years as the perfect trifecta of events, as Friday also brought with it the spring equinox and a supermoon as the moon passed closest to the Earth. But while many risked the hordes of polar bears and the frigid cold of the Arctic for a less than stunning view, ironically enough viewers in some major European cities caught an unobstructed view right from their own homes.
Experts warned watchers to be mindful of safety precautions during the event, as direct eye-contact with the solar eclipse can cause irreparable damage to the cornea of the eye. But in cities like London and Paris, where the view was clear overhead with grey skies as the backdrop, special glasses sold like hot cakes, with hundreds of Euros being thrown for the opportunity to glimpse the event for themselves.
Those who opted to not watch the event live captured the event on film, marking one of the largest surges of solar eclipse photographs in the history of the internet.
And for those of us here in the United State or in the southern hemisphere, many were able to watch the event live, courtesy of a live video feed hosted by astronomy website Slooh Observatory who was recording the stream all the way from Svalbard.
"The corona is flowering outward, and it's an incredible, incredible sight to see" Slooh producer, Eric Edelman says. "It's just so stunning."
But while many astronomers continue to talk about the stunning and rare event, our social media feeds cannot let us ignore exactly how underwhelming the "spectacular" was for most viewers involved. While some viewers in Paris and London captured a partial view of the total solar eclipse, most viewers only caught glimpses of grey skies and clouds, and nearly no one in Svalbard caught the full view. British news publication The Guardian jokingly posted on its Twitter account asking for its viewers to participate in a notedly sarcastic event-of course many answered the call.
"Send us your most soul-snappingly underwhelming #eclipse2015 pictures" The Guardian tweeted. "We'll stick the most average in a gallery."