On the morning of March 20th thousands of people in the UK and across Europe will be staring at the sky awaiting for the next solar eclipse to take place.
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse is where the moon and sun align perfectly blocking all light to the earth, there are varying degrees of eclipse including:
Partial eclipse – This happens when only part of the sun is covered by the moon
Annular eclipse – This takes place when the suns centre is covered by the moon leaving a ring outside
Total eclipse – This is when the sun is completely blocked by the moon
Hybrid eclipse - Is when different parts of the world can see the eclipse differently e.g. some seeing the eclipse as a total eclipse and others seeing the eclipses as an annular eclipse
On the morning of the 20th of March in some locations up to 98% percent of the suns light to the earth will be blocked by the moon giving a total eclipse. If you are unfortunate and miss this solar eclipse the next near total solar eclipse experience won’t be for another 11 years, taking place in the summer of 2026.
Why is this one special?
This solar eclipse is set to be extra special as on the evening before the eclipse the earth and moon will be as close together as they be creating a supermoon!
Tips for viewing the solar eclipse:
- The solar eclipse will be able to be seen in London from 8:45am and will reach its peak at 9:31am
- The best viewing location for the eclipse will be on a remote island called the Faroe Islands, however the eclipse will still be able to be seen across Europe.
- When viewing an eclipse always wear protective eyewear as the sun’s rays may cause eye damage and blindness, it is important to remember sun glasses will not protect your eyes as they do no filter all the rays. Suitable eyewear should be purchased for the purpose of viewing an eclipse or wielders googles rated 14 or higher should be worn
Solar Eclipse facts:
- You should never look at a solar eclipse without shielding your eyes as the sun’s rays can cause permanent eye damage even during a partial solar eclipse.
- A solar eclipse can last up to 7.5 minutes
- It is impossible to view full total eclipse from the north or South Pole
- The temperature can drop significantly during an eclipse
- There can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year, many of which are only partial and may not be able to be seen in all locations around the world.
Send us a picture of your solar eclipse experience to @QuestorIn
Date Created: 16 March 2015 by Kim Coppins