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Reactions to the solar eclipse: Was it as epic as hoped?

Viewers share their best – and not-so-great – views of the solar eclipse in all of its glory.

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The moon starts to block the sun during a solar eclipse over a statue in Milan, Italy, Friday, March 20, 2015.

Luca Bruno/AP

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Parts of Europe experienced a total solar eclipse on Friday, in which the moon almost entirely blocks the sun, leaving a mesmerizing ring of fire.

The total eclipse only lasted a few minutes, although it took several hours to reach completion. It was not visible anywhere in the United States. Only a few residents and visitors of the Danish Faroe Islands and the Norwegian island group of Svalbard experienced the eclipse in its fullness. Britain, a few other European countries, and parts of Asia and Africa experienced partial eclipses, reported USA Today.  

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Jay M. Pasachoff, an astronomer and director of Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, has traveled to see 58 eclipses since 1959, reported The New York Times. An expert on the corona, the sun’s outermost layer that only becomes visible during an eclipse, he chases eclipses to not only study the sun but experience its beauty.

“We’re here for the science, yes,” Dr. Pasachoff wrote in 2010, while he awaited an eclipse in Easter Island. “But there’s also the primal thrill this astronomical light show always brings – the perfect alignment, in solemn darkness, of the celestial bodies that mean most to us.”

The best place to view the total eclipse was reportedly Svalbard. Despite warnings of frostbite and polar bear attacks, 2,000 people ventured to the island and were rewarded with clear skies and 2.5 minutes of a sunless morning.

“It was just fabulous, just beautiful and at the same time a bit odd and it was too short,” Mary Rannestad of Minnesota, told The Guardian.

Hilary Castle from London also shared with The Guardian: “I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe it.”

While some got to experience spectacular views, others were subject to cloudy skies and dreary weather. Across the UK, eclipse-viewer hopefuls gathered outside, and expressed their frustration on Twitter when they could not see what was taking place behind the clouds.

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included an embedded tweet containing an image that had been digitally altered. The Monitor regrets the error.]