YOU ARE HERE: Home > News & Press > News archive > News 2008 > RAS PN 08/42: Partial solar eclipse visible from UK on morning of 1st August

I want information on:

Information for:

NEWS ARCHIVE

RAS PN 08/42: Partial solar eclipse visible from UK on morning of 1st August

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 April 2010 15:32
Published on Thursday, 24 July 2008 00:00
On 1st August 2008 there will be a total eclipse of the Sun, visible from Canada, northern Greenland, Svalbard, the Barents Sea, Russia, Mongolia and China. From the whole of the British Isles observers will see a partial solar eclipse, with between 1/10th and 1/3rd of the Sun obscured by the Moon.

It will be visible from the whole of the UK.

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
Date: 24 July 2008
For Immediate Release
Ref.: PN 08/42

Issued by:
Dr Robert Massey
RAS Press Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London W1J 0BQ
Tel: +44 (0)794 124 8035, +44 (0)20 7734 4582
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RAS website: www.ras.org.uk

RAS PN 08/42: PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE VISIBLE FROM THE UK ON THE MORNING OF 1ST AUGUST

Ecl290306e.JPG
Image: The solar eclipse of 29 March 2006 as seen from the UK. John Randall, RAS

On 1st August 2008 there will be a total eclipse of the Sun, visible from Canada, northern Greenland, Svalbard, the Barents Sea, Russia, Mongolia and China. From the whole of the British Isles observers will see a partial solar eclipse, with between 1/10th and 1/3rd of the Sun obscured by the Moon.

Total solar eclipses take place when the Earth, Moon and Sun are aligned and the shadow of the Moon touches the surface of the Earth. At mid-eclipse, observers within the lunar shadow briefly see totality, where the silhouette of the Moon completely covers the Sun, revealing the beautiful outer solar atmosphere or corona.

At its broadest, in this eclipse the lunar shadow is only 237 km (148 miles) wide but the shadow describes a path thousands of km long, traced out as the Earth rotates. The path begins in northeastern Canada, where observers will see the eclipse at sunrise, and then crosses northern Greenland, the Arctic, Barents Sea, Russia and Mongolia before ending in China where the eclipse is visible at sunset. On the ground the maximum duration of totality is 2 minutes 27 seconds but observers away from the centre of the track and at either end will see a significantly shorter event.

Away from the path of the total eclipse the Sun is only partly obscured by the Moon. This partial eclipse is visible across a large part of the northern hemisphere, including much of Europe and the whole of the UK, where it will take place in the morning.

In London the partial phase of the eclipse begins at 0933 BST (0833 GMT). Maximum eclipse is at 1018 BST (0918 GMT) when 12% of the Sun will be blocked. The partial eclipse ends at 1105 BST (1005 GMT).

Further north in the British Isles, observers enjoy a better view. From Edinburgh 23.5% of the Sun is covered and from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles, the Moon obscures 36% of the solar disk.

• Although eclipses of the Sun are spectacular events, they should NOT be viewed with the unaided eye except during the brief period of totality, which this time will not be visible anywhere in the UK. Looking at the partially eclipsed Sun without appropriate protection can cause serious and permanent damage to the eyes.

• The partial eclipse visible from the UK can be safely studied using purpose-designed solar filters available from reputable astronomical suppliers. Without these, the only safe ways to observe the Sun are to use a pinhole or telescope to PROJECT the Sun’s image onto card or to look at the natural dappled images under trees.
 
• On 1 August, some amateur astronomical societies and public observatories will be running events where members of the public can safely enjoy the eclipse.

CONTACT (BY E-MAIL ONLY FROM 25 JULY TO 7 AUGUST)

Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING DETAILS OF PUBLIC EVENTS AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS)

UK eclipse page from HM Nautical Almanac Office (includes maps of the eclipse track, animations and details of the view from different locations)
http://www.eclipse.org.uk


Royal Observatory Greenwich (hosting a public eclipse observing event on 1 August)
http://www.rog.nmm.ac.uk
Contact: Sheryl Twigg, Head of Press: + 44 (0)7903 547284, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

British Astronomical Association
http://www.britastro.org

Society for Popular Astronomy
http://www.popastro.com

NASA guide to eclipses: University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) Professor Ralph Chou's article on eye safety during solar eclipses
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety2.html

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.