20th March 2015

What will you be doing on that day? I know what I will be doing. I’ll be standing in the street looking up. This is because it is the next time there will be a total solar eclipse in the United Kingdom, and it’s going to be a good one. The last time I saw one was 11th August 1999 and it was the coolest, freakiest, most ethereal moment of my teenage years and had me in awe. As a 14 year old I had no idea what mechanisms were taking place to allow it to happen before hand, and still marvel at its beauty and importance to this day.

I remember the shape of the sun. I remember the darkness of the moon, the greyness of the murky sunlight, the sudden quietness as the birds stopped chirping. I remember the TV, showing it live from around the UK were there wasn’t cloud. I remember looking at the misty eclipselight through my glasses and the pink hole paper technique and still amazed at what it meant.

So the next time there is one, I’m going to like it. There won’t be another one in the UK in my life time, unless I live to 105 years old and to be honest, this is unlikely. The most impressive one this millennia will take place on the 16th July 2186 and will last the longest of any eclipse for a thousand years. What will the world be like in 2186? No idea. Think about what the world was like when the first eclipse in the cycle that will create the 20th March 2015 one, back in 955AD.

It makes you realise just how small everything we do is, and our place hung amongst the stars.