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Partial solar eclipse set to thrill UK skygazers


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A partial solar eclipse is about to grace skies across the UK next week because the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun.

On Tuesday morning, skygazers across the country will give you the option to see nearly a sixth of the Sun being blocked out by the Moon, with those in northern Scotland expected to enjoy good views.

Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, said the phenomenon will cause the Moon to dam the view of “some or all of the intense solar surface”, and the Sun will “appear to have a bite taken out of it”.

Observers in western Siberia, Russia, will get the most effective view of the eclipse, where the Moon will obscure a maximum of 85% of the Sun, Dr Massey added.

In London, the eclipse will begin at 10:08am on October 25, with the utmost eclipse occurring at 11.13am, when the Moon will cover close to fifteen% of the Sun.

Lerwick within the Shetland Isles is predicted to have a greater view, with 28% of the Sun obscured at mid-eclipse.

Jake Foster, astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: “The eclipse will likely be visible across the entire of the UK, in addition to large parts of Europe and Central and South Asia.

“The quantity of obscuration you’ll see will depend upon where you’re on the Earth.

“Those viewing from the UK will see between 10% and 20% of the Sun covered by the Moon.”

He added: “Though a portion of the Sun’s light will likely be blocked, it’ll not get noticeably darker within the UK in the course of the eclipse.”

The partial eclipse will end at 11:51am.

Dr Massey said looking directly on the Sun may cause serious damage to the eyes, even when a big fraction of the solar disc is blocked out.

It is usually not sensible not to take a look at the Sun through binoculars, telescopes or a telephoto lens on an SLR camera.

He added: “The best technique to watch an eclipse is to make use of a pinhole in a chunk of card.

“A picture of the Sun can then be projected on to a different piece of card behind it (experiment with the space between the 2, but it’ll have to be at the very least 30 cm).

“By no means must you leaf through the pinhole.”

Dr Massey said one other popular method used to view an eclipse is the mirror projection method.

He said: “You wish a small, flat mirror and a way of placing it within the sun in order that it reflects the daylight right into a room where you’ll be able to view it on a wall or some kind of a flat screen.

“You could even have eclipse glasses with a licensed safety mark, and these can be found from specialist astronomy suppliers.

“Provided these should not damaged in any way, you’ll be able to then view the Sun through them.”

Binoculars or telescopes may also be used to project the image of the Sun.

Dr Massey said: “Mount them on a tripod, and fit one piece of card with a hole in it over the eyepiece, and place one other between 50 cm and a metre behind it.

“Point the telescope or binoculars towards the Sun and you must see its vibrant image on the separate card.”

For those keen to follow the event, the Royal Observatory Greenwich will live-stream the eclipse on its website and YouTube channel.

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