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Partial S olar Eclipse on June 10th 2021

If you wish to travel (pandemic permitting!) to see the Total Solar Eclipse and Annular Solar Eclipse check out this impressive website: http://www.mreclipse.com for details on lunar and solar eclipses.

For some parts of the far north there will be an annular eclipse but for the UK, Ireland and northern Europe, we shall have a Partial Solar Eclipse. The further north you are then the more of the sun will be covered by the moon (which technically is at ‘new’ that morning.

The chart above is set for the UK with three locations from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles, the authors home town of Horncastle and finally Plymouth in the SW. Times do vary so make sure you allow plenty of leeway for viewing the event and do so carefully with the appropriate safe solar filters. The chart above shows the approximate point of mid eclipse and maximum amount of the sun covered for those locations. The table below gives the main timings for the three locations mentioned.

Observe the Sun SAFELY!

The safest way to observe the Sun is to project the image either with a pinhole in a piece of card onto a second white card or by carefully using a small telescope to direct the Sun’s light onto the white card (as shown above). Never look straight at the sun using any optical equipment or the naked eye without proper certified solar filters as permanent eye damage can occur. I find that to centre the Sun safely all you have to do is roughly line up the telescope in the direction of the Sun then use the shadow of the telescope as a guide. If it’s in line with the Sun then all you should have is a dark shadow disk of the telescope with a bright image in the centre. Make sure that you have the finderscope covered with its caps on to prevent you accidentally viewing the bright Sun and only uncap the main telescope when you are ready to observe. Ensure that children are not left unsupervised near any equipment - you know how curious they can be!

Special Eclipse glasses can also be bought and used but ONLY for the eyes, they must never be placed in front of a binocular,  telescope or camera gear as they are not designed for that purpose.

Binoculars can also be used to produce a reasonably sized image but you MUST block off the half of the binocular not in use as it produces a second image which may overlap with the image you are using, also because someone may try to look up at the Sun directly and of course that could seriously damage their eye even to the point of causing blindness.

The Sun’s surface has some obvious and subtle things to look for during the eclipse as well as at other times if you wish to observe it. The most obvious is the dark SUNSPOTS (right) which are great magnetic storms on the surface which cool that area down making them appear darker.  Sometimes either surrounding or even preceding the formation of a spot complex there seems to be a lighter patch on the solar surface and this is the Faculae. Look around the slightly darker solar limb for these in particular.