For the first time in 15 years, the UK will fall into momentary darkness this Friday morning when the moon shields the sun resulting in a partial solar eclipse. You can expect to witness quite a spectacle as the Moon will gradually cover the Sun’s surface, leaving just a slim, crescent-shaped segment of the Sun visible.
Friday’s partial eclipse also remarkably coincides with the Spring equinox, the time of year we all welcome for the longer days and lighter evenings. As the Equinox is traditionally known for its ability to bring renewal and fresh starts, see what this could mean for your star sign.
If you are eager to view this national phenomenon then read on – we have
pulled together the five things you need to know before it occurs…
1. What is a partial solar eclipse?
A partial solar eclipse is a rare occurance when the Moon’s orbit intercepts the space between the Sun and the Earth. The Moon shields the Sun’s light from the Earth casting momentary darkness over the planet. In order to result in an eclipse, the Moon must be a specific distance from Earth.
2. Where can you see it?
According to the Met Office, the UK will experience a ‘deep partial eclipse’ on Friday morning that will be visible across the country. The best viewing points are the rooftop restaurants or viewing platforms of high rise buildings and open spaces.
3. When can you see it?
The eclipse will occur at different times across the UK depending on location: in London the eclipse will start at 8.45am and is estimated to last a couple of hours. The list below is lifted from the Met Office and advises the time at which the maximum eclipse can be viewed from the most northerly points of the UK, to the most southerly. The Met Office have a very informative infographic which will tell you how much coverage you can expect to see in your location.
Inverness: 9.39am Aberdeen: 9.37am Edinburgh: 9.35am Newcastle: 9.34am Belfast: 9.30am Leeds: 9.33am Norwich: 9.34am Birmingham: 9.31am Aberystwyth: 9.28am Cardiff: 9.28am London: 9.30am Southampton: 9.28am Penzance: 9.25am St Hellier: 9.25am
4. It is extremely dangerous to look straight at the eclipse
We all know that looking directly at the Sun can damage your sight. Watching the eclipse is essentially the same thing, as you watch the Moon move over the Sun, the Sun’s rays will still be as powerful and harmful as if you were to look straight at a fully exposed Sun. Experts advise that you wear specially designed viewing glasses, use a mirror to project an image of the eclipse on to a piece of card, or make your own pinhole viewer. The Royal Astronomical Society have written a very thorough guide on ways in which you can watch the eclipse safely with easy, make shift ways to create your own eclipse viewers.
5. When can you witness the next one?
According to the Met Office, Friday’s solar eclipse will be the last visible one in Europe for over a decade, with the next one not expected until 2026.