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Disappointment as keen onlookers fail to witness the partial eclipse in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 11:46 20 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:49 20 March 2015

Students from Ormiston Denes Academy, Lowestoft look for the Partial Eclipse with special glasses. Picture: Nick Butcher

Students from Ormiston Denes Academy, Lowestoft look for the Partial Eclipse with special glasses. Picture: Nick Butcher

"Eclipses are awesome, weather is not". That was the sentiment of Ormiston Denes Academy Science teacher Alex Brown, who had to change plans for his students after heavy cloud cover prevented them from capturing a glimpse of the partial eclipse in Lowestoft.

Members from Lowestoft and Yarmouth regional astronomers gather on Kirkley Cliff.
(Left to right) Steve Hubbard, Leonard Brundle, Bev Lawton, Richard Chilvers and Martin Phinn.Members from Lowestoft and Yarmouth regional astronomers gather on Kirkley Cliff. (Left to right) Steve Hubbard, Leonard Brundle, Bev Lawton, Richard Chilvers and Martin Phinn.

There was disappointment for many keen onlookers in the town and the surrounding areas who headed to the most easterly vantage point for the eclipse, but were not unable to witness the unusual event.

The eclipse was the first since 1999 and parts of North Norfolk were lucky enough to catch small glimpses with pictures surfacing from Dereham, Kings Lynn and Aylsham.

The Lowestoft and Yarmouth Regional Astronomers gathered at about 8.30am on the Pakefield cliffs with two telescopes, hoping to witness the event.

However, chairman of the group Leonard Brundle 75, said that the 40 people that attended were “ultimately left disappointed”.

“Overall it very disappointing just to see a grey sky. We couldn’t really see where the sun was”, he said.

“We had been planning the event and looking forward to it since the end of last year, so it comes as a disappointment.

“We are philosophical though; it is just one of those things.”

Mr Brundle described that about 9.30am the sky got “distinctly darker” and the air felt “noticeable colder”, but there was no sign of the eclipse.

“Everyone was happy enough and it was an enjoyable gathering, but unfortunately we just had total cloud cover”, he added.

“We had two telescopes here; one adapted to project an image of sun onto a white card and the other was specially designed and built for looking at the sun, so it was a shame we didn’t see much.”

Across the Bascule Bridge, about 40 students and staff at Ormiston Denes Academy had planned to view the eclipse through special ‘solar glasses’ on the school playing field. They had also planned to use a 12” reflecting telescope, which was going to be projecting an image approximately 15” in size.

However their plans were scuppered at the start of the day, due to the unfavourable weather forecast.

Julie Durrant, marketing & communications Officer at the school said: “We are all incredibly disappointed, but we made the most of it by streaming a live feed of the eclipse on the main screen in our entrance hall.

“It was a great shame as we had been building up to this event for about a month.

“We could see that weather forecast early on this morning wasn’t too good, so we had to settle for the live stream.”

Two astronomy groups also gathered at the Discovery Centre at RSPB Minsmere, near Southwold, but were also unable to witness the eclipse and will now turn their attention to a stargazing event they are hosting tonight and tomorrow, beginning at 7.30pm. The entry is free for members of the public, but people are advised to bring a torch with them.

Have you got any pictures of the eclipse from other areas? Email: george.ryan@archant.co.uk

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