Eclipse 2021: How to watch partial solar eclipse in the UK

10 June 2021, 07:01

The partial solar eclipse will begin shortly after 10am
The partial solar eclipse will begin shortly after 10am. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A partial solar eclipse is expected to begin in the UK at 10.08am. Here's how you can watch it.

Forecasters have said views of the partial solar eclipse this morning will be "somewhat fleeting" due to cloudy skies.

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

Nearly a third of the sun is to be blocked out by the moon in what is known as an annular eclipse.

This 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".

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

Weather conditions

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.

"It will be dry for many, particularly eastern areas, whilst western areas and high ground here are more likely to see some light rain and drizzle."

How to safely watch it

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.

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

"Never look at the sun directly or use standard sunglasses - it can cause serious harm to your eyes."

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

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."

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

Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said the 'ring of fire' will be seen from Russia, Greenland and northern Canada.

She said: "From the UK, the annular solar eclipse will be a partial eclipse, meaning that we'll only see the moon pass in front of a small part of the sun."

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.

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