It’s the first eclipse in the UK in the social media age, and the tweets have gone off the scale. The eclipse was getting 10,000 tweets per minute.

As millions of eyes and camera lenses peered hopefully towards the sky for what was promised to be the most impressive solar eclipse since 1999 it wasn’t merely a horrible morning across much of the UK and northern Europe – as grey as a politician’s suit: the British chancellor George Osborne tweeted excitedly just before 9am: “On train to West Midlands have just seen the solar eclipse underway – brilliant.”

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