Total eclipse of the sun
Here at Dawn we love all of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights, and for the first time in 99 years people around the world will witness a rare spectacular event – a solar eclipse.
This occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun.
The sun will grace the skies on Monday, August 21st, 2017 across North America. The Moon will pass in front of the sun, casting darkness across the Earth’s surface displaying a dramatic solar eclipse.
Unfortunately us folks in the UK won’t be able to witness the full eclipse in all its glory. However, we may see a partial eclipse, still pretty cool! The sky will darken and the temperature will drop, as the moon hides part of the sun from view.
These type of things don’t happen every day, so if you’re keen to see the spectacle, it’s worth planning ahead to make sure you’re in a good position for when it happens. We’ve put together all you need to know.
When and where
For us watching in the UK, the eclipse will start shortly after 18:30 GMT (19:30 local time), and reach its maximum at about 19:00 GMT (20:00 local time).
As the eclipse occurs very close to sunset in the UK, those in the north have the best chance of seeing it, as it will be lighter for longer.
How can I see it safely?
Never look directly at the Sun, even through sunglasses or dark material such as a bin liner or photographic negative. Makeshift filters may not screen out the harmful rays that can burn the retina of the eye risking permanent eye damage and blindness. Viewers must never ever use binoculars or a telescope.
One of the safest ways to view the eclipse is to construct a simple pinhole camera. This will project an image of the Sun onto a blank piece of paper.
- Take two pieces of cardboard each about the size of a plate. Two sheets of paper will work but will be harder to hold flat.
- Use a pin or thumb tack to make a small hole in one piece of the cardboard.
- Turn your back to the sun and hold up the cardboard. Allow the light to come through the hole to fall on the second piece of cardboard. Hold at arm’s length.
This will project a clear image of the solar disc as it disappears behind the orbiting moon.
The total solar eclipse will of course be available to view live on the NASA website.