It was the celestial spectacle of the year: millions of europeans turned out for the start of spring on the 20th. March 2015 marveling at the solar eclipse.
The cosmic shadow play, in which the moon temporarily moved in front of the sun, had the character of an event in many places. In mostly fair weather, numerous "sofi" fans crowded many observatories and technical museums, others enjoyed the show from their picnic blankets. Some careless people who had watched the spectacle without suitable glasses despite numerous warnings, however, ended up at the ophthalmologist’s office.
On google, "solar eclipse" was even the search term of the year 2015 in germany. Requests for the natural event increased most strongly. This was somewhat surprising for the very eventful year 2015, said google spokesman ralf bremer.
In germany, the moon was eclipsed on 20. Marz between 66 and 83 percent of the solar disk depending on the location. It did not become really dark. Only in a narrow strip in the north atlantic was a so-called total solar eclipse visible, in which the disk of the sun disappears completely behind the moon for a short time. In this "path of totalitarianism" lay the faro islands, visited by thousands of "sofi" tourists. But the onlookers were unlucky: at the time of the total eclipse, a band of clouds obscured the view of the eclipsed sun.
German power grids survived the sofi stress test without any problems: due to the increased share of solar power, there had been fears that the power fluctuations could lead to grid failures. In fact, solar power fluctuated by the output of about ten rough power plants, but the grid operators had taken precautions and were able to compensate for the fluctuations. They saw the partial eclipse as a practical test for the flexibility of the grids, which must increase steadily with the share of renewable energies.
By a freak of nature, the moon and the sun appear to be the same size from the earth, although the sun has a diameter of 1.4 million kilometers, which is 400 times larger than that of the moon. But it is also about 400 times further away than the earth satellite.
Those who missed the "sofi" in 2015 will have to wait a long time – or travel far: not until 2021 will another partial solar eclipse be visible from germany – although the occultation in this country will be small – and then a total one in 2081. The next solar eclipse will take place already on the 9th day of the year. March 2016, but only over indonesia, parts of asia and australia, and the western pacific.