A solar eclipse that is set to take place on March 20, 2105, is being hailed as the most spectacular in the UK for 15 years. It will start at around 8.40am and will plunge Britain into semi-darkness for two hours.
Many people will be able to view the strange cosmic occurrence as the country will appear to be in twilight although it will still be the morning!
What is a solar eclipse?: The rare astronomical alignment sees the Moon passing directly between the Sun and Earth and blocking out most of the sun’s light. And because the Moon is very close to the Earth just now, closer that it has been for 18 years, the subsequent eclipse is all the more spectacular.
Where to best see the solar eclipse: It is northern Scotland that will be treated to the best view of the partial eclipse in the UK, where more than 98 per cent of the Sun will be covered. In comparison, London and south east of England will see an 85 per cent cover.
Great places to see the solar eclipse
For a 100 per cent eclipse you’ll need to be in the Faroes or northern Scandinavia, where the Sun will be totally covered for around two minutes.
Scotland will be treated to 98 per cent coverage in some locations and the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, close to Aird Uig, is claimed as best place in Britain to see the solar eclipse at 9.36am.
On the islands of Skye and Orkney, viewers will see 97 per cent of the Sun covered.
Other top places are Aberdeen and the Shetland Isles.
As you travel south in Scotland the eclipse will lessen but will still be around 90 per cent over the southern areas of the country.
It’s best to head north – and if you are planning ahead you might want to choose one of your favourite locations for the viewing, such as the north-west coast, a north-west island or a hilltop.
Dr Steve Bell, of the HM Nautical Almanac Office, said: “The path of totality lies well to the north-west of the UK, making landfall over the Faroe Islands and Svalbard as totality moves towards the North Pole.
“The UK will see this eclipse as a deep partial eclipse. Skies will darken for any location where the maximum obscuration exceeds 95 per cent which includes north-western Scotland, the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland Islands.”
When was the last eclipse – and the next? Some of you may be able to remember the big eclipse of 1999, which was total across Cornwall and parts of Devon. The skies over Scotland darkened quite a bit during that eclipse, but only 72 to 90 per cent of the sun was covered during that event. So this eclipse will be far more impressive.
The next total eclipse anywhere near the UK will be in 2081 in central Europe, and in Britain in 2090. This will be a chance in a lifetime solar eclipse for many people in the UK.
If you take any pictures of the solar eclipse, especially while traveling in a campervan or motorhome, please do send the to us to see.