The total solar eclipse seen from Svalbard, Norway on March 20, 2015.
Haakon Mosvold Larsen—AP
March 20, 2015 1:44 PM EDT

LONGYEARBYEN, Norway — For the best view of the solar spectacle of the year, Svalbard eclipsed the Faroe Islands.

Skywatchers in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard popped champagne corks, oohed and aahed as they witnessed a total solar eclipse Friday under perfect weather conditions. A clear sky over the Arctic islands offered a full view of the sun’s corona—a faint ring of rays surrounding the moon—that is only visible during a total eclipse.

“I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe it,” said Hilary Castle, a 58-year-old visitor from London.

Meanwhile, a blanket of clouds…

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