How to watch partial solar eclipse in UK today - with warning views may be ‘fleeting’

·3-min read
Partial solar eclipse (PA Archive)
Partial solar eclipse (PA Archive)

Skygazers are set to see nearly a third of the sun being blocked out by the moon in what is known as an annular eclipse this week.

Views of the partial solar eclipse on Thursday morning will be “somewhat fleeting” across certain parts of the UK due to cloudy skies, forecasters have said.

But those in central and south-east England will have clear spells to witness the spectacle, according to the Met Office.

An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line with the Earth, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun.

This causes the sun to appear as a very bright ring, or annulus, in a phenomenon dubbed as the “ring of fire”.

But weather permitting, observers in the UK and Ireland will see a crescent sun instead of a ring, as this will be a partial eclipse.

When does the eclipse start and where can I watch it?

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is live-streaming the eclipse on its website and YouTube channel.

Dr Drabek-Maunder said the phenomenon will begin at 10.08am on June 10 in the UK, with the maximum eclipse occurring at 11.13am, when the moon will cover close to one-third of the sun.

The partial eclipse will end at 12.22pm.

Even though a large part of the solar disc will be covered, looking at the partially eclipsed sun without appropriate protection can cause serious and permanent damage to the eyes.

What safety tips are experts giving?

Dr Drabek-Maunder said the eclipse from the UK will only be visible with certain techniques and optical aids.

He advised skygazers to never look at the sun directly or use standard sunglasses as it can cause serious harm to the eyes.

“It is also not wise not to look at the Sun through binoculars, telescopes or a telephoto lens on an SLR camera,” he added.

Dr Drabek-Maunder suggests using a simple pinhole projector, solar eclipse viewing glasses – which can be purchased online – or special solar filters which can fit on telescopes, in order to observe the eclipse.

She said: “You can make a projector by poking a small hole into a piece of card.

“Hold the card up to the sun so that light shines through the hole and on to a piece of paper behind the card.

“You will be able to see the shape of the sun projected on to the piece of paper and watch its shape change as the Moon passes in front of the sun.”

What will the weather be like?

The Met Office has said parts of the UK will see clouds covering the skies although most regions are expected to remain dry.

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said: “Thursday morning will see more cloud than recent days over east, south-east and much of southern England though some good breaks are likely with sunny spells.

“Similar conditions are likely over east and north-east Scotland with all these areas having the best visibility of the solar eclipse.

“There will be clear spells over much of central and south-east England.

“Much of the far south-west of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, western and central Scotland will have more in the way of cloud cover, and whilst this may thin by day, the likelihood is that visibility of the eclipse will be somewhat fleeting.

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