Partial Solar Eclipse - 20th March 2015
On the morning of Friday 20th March 2015, the entire UK will experience a partial eclipse of the Sun, where between 80% to 95% of the Sun's surface will be blocked out as the Moon passes slowly in front. The timings and degree of the eclipse will vary across the UK, with Scotland being treated to the best opportunity. First contact (where the Moon first touches the Sun's disk) will take place around 8:30 am, whilst fourth contact (where the Sun and Moon separate again) will be around 10:40 am.
It's actually quite rare to observe a solar eclipse from the UK, and the last one occurred back in 1999, so it's very unlikely that even your oldest students will remember seeing it. What's more, the UK won't see another partial eclipse this good until August 2026, so we thoroughly recommend taking a little time out of class to observe this rather special event - weather permitting of course. Even if it's cloudy, things will go eerily dark for an hour or so.
Remember: Never look directly at the Sun, and especially NOT through binoculars or a telescope. It will damage your eyes !
In order to help you safely observe the eclipse, the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA) have created a very useful PDF guide that can be downloaded from the following link:
In addition, the SPA have created a rather nice 8 minute video for the event, which can be viewed below:
If you are planning an event, or if you obtain any decent images or observations from such an event, then we would love to hear from you ... as we would like to create a page of school activities and memories from the big day - even if it's sad faces peering out from beneath an umbrella. Please share your events and images with us on our Facebook page.