Solar Eclipse 20 March 2015
UPDATE: Teachers! Educators! Don’t miss out on the learning opportunity of a lifetime! This partial eclipse will be the best seen in Scotland and much of the UK since 1999, and the best until 2090. And you don’t need eclipse glasses to experience it.
Indeed, looking at the Sun is a very minor part of the experience. The most incredible thing to happen on Friday morning will be the darkening of the day, as the Sun gets covered by the Moon and much of its light gets blocked out. This will create a dusk-like atmosphere; birds will start singing, insects will come out, flowers – if you can find any – may close up! This is such an unusual and rare event that I really hope every school pupil in the country will get the opportunity to experience it. The best time for this is straight after register (0900) until around 0945.
If you have eclipse glasses you could let some of the pupils use those but I understand that you probably don’t have many pairs and fear the younger children might not use them correctly. Don’t use them then! Just get outside, tell the kids not to look at the Sun, and explore the wonderful daytime darkness. I really hope you can turn this into the learning opportunity of a lifetime.
On the morning of Friday 20 March 2015 there will be a total eclipse of the Sun. Between 0830 and 1042 the Moon will pass across the face of the Sun, blocking out part of its light. The maximum extend of the eclipse will happen at 0934 for a few minutes.
Unfortunately the “path of totality”, i.e. those parts of the world that will see a total eclipse, is in the far north Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Residents of the Faroe Islands get a ring-side seat at the total eclipse.
That said, it will still be a dramatic event in the UK, south of the path of totality, as we will see a partial solar eclipse where the Moon blocks some but not all of the Sun’s light.
The further north you are in the country the more of the Sun will be obscured, but wherever you are in the UK it’ll look quite dramatic. Here’s a handy table showing what % of the Sun’s disk will be obscured by the Moon from where you are.
|Town/City||% Eclipse on 20 March 2015|
Compare this with the August 1999 eclipse, where totality passed across the SW of England. During that eclipse the further south you were in the UK the better. Indeed the SW of England and the Channel Islands saw a total eclipse. I was in Glasgow and saw an 82% eclipse. For me, this eclipse will be even better. In fact for anyone north of Liverpool, the 2015 eclipse is better than that in 1999!
|Town/City||% Eclipse on 11 August 1999|
Wherever you are in the UK though it’s worth watching, but BE CAREFUL. Never look at the Sun directly, even when it’s eclipsed. Here are some safety guidelines for viewing eclipses.