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The near-total eclipse as seen from Glasgow, Scotland (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The near-total eclipse as seen from Glasgow, Scotland (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The near-total eclipse as seen from Glasgow, Scotland (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Millions of skywatchers around the U.K. were given an unusual treat earlier today, with the arrival of a near-total solar eclipse — the best seen in Northern Europe since the total eclipse of 1999.

Those in the north of Scotland and the Shetland Islands were able to see the closest totality, with a reported block out of 97%; but the entirety of the U.K. experienced at least 83%, with darkness peaking at around 9.35am (GMT).

Unfortunately, several parts of the country — most notably London — also happened to be underneath heavy cloud cover all morning, so actually viewing the sun itself proved more difficult. But many areas were able to take in the breathtaking sight, resulting in some equally stunning photography:

The eclipse is seen through the trees in Northampton, England. (Pic: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
The eclipse is seen through the trees in Northampton, England. (Pic: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Plymouth, in South-West England, offered some of the clearest views of the eclipse.  (Pic: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images.)
Plymouth, in South-West England, offered some of the clearest views of the eclipse. (Pic: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images.)
A break in the clouds enabled a view of the phenomenon over the famous Stonehenge. (Pic: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
A break in the clouds enabled a view of the phenomenon over the famous Stonehenge. (Pic: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
A stunning view of the darkened skies over Liverpool. (Pic: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)
A stunning view of the darkened skies over Liverpool. (Pic: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)
These schoolchildren wait patiently - and with safety glasses - for a glimpse through the clouds at the Greenwich Observatory in London. (Pic: Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
These schoolchildren waited patiently – and with safety glasses – for a glimpse through the clouds at the Greenwich Observatory in London. (Pic: Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Of course, many also took to Twitter to share their pictures, with a bit of a battle developing between various U.K. nature reserves:

Over in Dublin, Irish TV presenter Rick O’Shea shared his view:

With the right kind of camera, it was possible to get some more dramatic, artistic shots:

But perhaps unsurprisingly, the best views of the eclipse were to be had from space:

And of course, it wouldn’t be a social media phenomenon without a healthy dose of wry British humor making it into the mix as well:

Have you seen any great photos of the eclipse? Or were you there yourself?

See more:
Snapshot: Great Britain Welcomes New Year with Frigid Swim
6 Impressive British Stone Structures That Aren’t Stonehenge
Snapshot: 12 Photos of Liverpool, England

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By Seb Patrick