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solar eclipse



Hi, Peter and David here. We spend much of our time travelling around the world chasing total solar eclipses - not a bad job!


This picture, taken by Fred Espenak, shows a total eclipse of the Sun. The dark central area is the Moon; it’s covering up the Sun’s disk completely. All that’s left to see is the light from the Sun’s very faint, wispy corona.


Corona & Moon


You can see more movies in our Gallery [Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]

Here is a movie taken during a solar eclipse. The movie starts when the Moon has almost covered the Sun’s disk, just a shaft of light remains shining through. The movie gets very shaky towards the end as the photographer obviously got very excited!



What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun and blocks the light from the Sun’s disk.


Future solar eclipses

To find out when and where the next solar eclipse is, click on the map below


Map showing where solar eclipes will happen


Note that on 21st August 2017, there will be a total solar eclipse which goes right across the USA.

Put that in your diary!


Solar Ecipses in the UK

The last total solar eclipse in the UK was in 1999. Unfortunately, most of the UK was cloudy, but many people were lucky enough to observe this in Cornwall and in Alderney, Channel Islands. It was AWESOME!!!


On March 20th 2015, there will be a partial solar eclipse in the UK, with totality further north. Even a partial solar eclipse can be spectacular and eerie.


2009 solar eclipse.

path of 2009 solar eclipse

The longest total eclipse of the 21st century happened on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009. The maximum duration was 6mins 39s.


This eclipse cast a shadow over half the Earth. The path of the Moon’s umbral shadow began in India and crossed through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China.


After leaving the mainland of Asia, the path crossed the Japanese islands in the Pacific Ocean.



To look at the Sun during a total solar eclipse you MUST use a special filter or glasses.

It is only safe to look at the Sun without a filter during a total solar eclipse, and then just for the few minutes of ‘totality’, that is when the Sun’s disk is completely covered by the Moon.




This booklet (.pdf) provides an excellent guide on ‘How to observe an eclipse safely





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