Leeds looks up for the solar eclipse

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FROM THE ridges of Otley Chevin to the streets of Leeds city centre, it seemed everyone was doing the same thing - looking up.

A cover of cloud wasn’t enough to stop West Yorkshire getting a great view of the solar eclipse. The skies greyed and a dawn-like chill came into the air as the moon crossed in front of the sun, covering around 90 per cent of its face at around 9.30am.

The solar eclipse over Leeds. PIC: Tony Johnson

The solar eclipse over Leeds. PIC: Tony Johnson

Around 40 people gathered at West Yorkshire Astronomical Society’s (WYAS) Rosse Observatory at Carleton Grange, Pontefract, where the clouds cleared at the perfect time for those watching the skies.

WYAS committee member Glynn Willock said both society members and the small crowd of members of the public were very pleased with the viewing.

“I arrived just before 8am to set up and we had to wait a little while for the cloud to clear, but it went spot on time, we had clear blue sky for the eclipse itself,” he said.

“For us, it’s the nearest we get to going to the moon. It makes you aware of your place in the solar system.”

Across the UK, one of the best vantage points was in South Gloucestershire, where amateur astronomer Ralph Wilkins described the “eerie” feeling as a chilly gloom descended and shadows sharpened.

Elsewhere, there were reports of birds “going crazy” and flocking to trees, confused by the fading light.

It has been almost 16 years since the last solar eclipse of significance - and we will have to wait until August 12, 2026 for the next.

On the Scarborough coast, around 300 people gathered around the spa terrace and cliffs to watch the eclipse.

Andy Exton, secretary of Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society said: “It used to be seen as geeky not so long ago, but now astronomy is cool.”

WYAS holds open evenings at Pontefract every Tuesday. See www.wyas.org.uk

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