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Don't let "once in a lifetime" events cast a shadow over your website

Waking up in the UK today there was a palpable air of excitement as "eclipse" fever was hyped by local and national radio and TV stations. Reporters were despatched to the Faroe Islands where apparently the best views were to be had.

Social media was in a flurry about protecting your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun and the country waited for the apocalyptic event.

As is normal in the UK, cloud obscured much of the sun, but here's a picture that I managed to take outside my house North of Manchester.

For people who didn't have a safe way of photographing or viewing the eclipse there was always the Internet to fall back on. The Manchester Evening News has a reasonable eclipse gallery but surely there'd be live streams and webcams poised to beam this monemtous event onto our screens....

The answer to this is, "Yes" and "No".

Although I found one stream which worked OK, the two cheerful chaps were mainly talking about how cloud obscured their view of the sun. This image is the highlight of the show where at "peak eclipse" the sun shone briefly through the clouds onto a patch of sea a few miles away.

Sadly the website which takes feeds from NASA, other space agencies and newssites didn't fair so well. As confirmed by the "Down for everyone or just me" website ( the site remained stubbornly offline for most of the morning.

Ah well, the website owners have until 14th November 2050 to prepare for the next, near total solar eclipse visible from the UK. Plenty of time to beef up the servers and consider some decent performance testing. 



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