As an experience, it went far beyond the religious or spiritual. It was quite simply, a tiny demonstration of nature's immense power and precision, displayed with the speed and virtuosity of a master magician and, finally, presented as a gift to all of us who were privileged to look up and witness it. In just over 120 seconds of heart-stopping colour and beauty the solar system used the twin props of the Sun and Moon to give us one gigantic wink of its eye as our solar furnace was turned into a jet-black fire-rimmed disc. As it did so the sky, the clouds and the sea were painted with a succession of brief, flickering colours from creamy green to inky black. Time seemed to stand still as the huge shadow swept over us, turning day into night and drawing a single howl of delight from the thousands gathered below.
Despite apocalyptic forecasts that the Moon would become glued to the Sun and the MIR space station would fall on Paris, the most untoward incident in France before or during yesterday's brief midday darkening of the skies was a sunglasses riot in Marseilles. Scores of people - mostly middle-aged men - fought over 5000 free pairs of "eclipse glasses" that were being distributed in the car park of a shopping mall. Many of the glasses were destroyed in the process.
One man in southern Germany climbed an electricity pylon for a better view. He was being treated for severe electric shock last night.
Totality was sensational. If it is this dramatic when the weather is bad, many thought, a cloudless eclipse must be amazing. Eclipse tourism could be the next travel boom. Count me in.
Trials and hearings at many crown and magistrate courts, including the Old Baily, were briefly adjourned to allow jurors and lawyers - but not defendants - to watch the eclipse.
Spooky, Wasn't It?
The start of cricket matches was put back 45 minutes - to avoid stoppages for bad light.
In the end you didn't have to see it. You just had to be there.
The magic of the eclipse showed there really are some things that you have to experience before you can understand them.
Most of those who saw the total eclipse rated it as the experience of a lifetime - one that they will tell their grandchildren about.
I felt humbled and nothing leading up to the moment could have prepared me for the feeling as daylight gave way to the dead of night.
Western Daily Press:
When it comes to eclipses, if it's not 100 per cent, it's not magical.
The Daily Mail:
Shortly before the eclipse, disorientated seals attacked a number of swimmers around Newquay.
Tourists in Black Sea resorts reportedly used their bare hands to catch thousands of disorientated fish swimming in shallow waters.
...most animals at London Zoo carried on as normal... gorillas continued swinging in the trees... [gorillas normally live on the ground]
Day the Sun Went Out
Eclipse Killer's Knife Frenzy
Drawing of the eclipse (Rosie Lee, Midnight-Ray, Ben, Jasmin)
KryssTal Related Pages
The 1999 eclipse main page.
Photos of most of the people with us at the 1999 eclipse.
Large photos of the approach of the shadow and totality.
Some newspaper accounts and a children's drawing of the eclipse.
Pre-eclipse photos including the week before the eclipse in Cornwall.
Many people (friends and strangers) have sent their accounts of the 1999 eclipse to this web site. These are reproduced here.
An archive of all the information published on this web site about the 1999 eclipse.