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Largest Astronomical Event of the Decade: Where Today in Europe You Can See a Solar Eclipse

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Photo: Largest Astronomical Event of the Decade: Where Today in Europe You Can See a Solar Eclipse. Source: science.nasa.gov
Photo: Largest Astronomical Event of the Decade: Where Today in Europe You Can See a Solar Eclipse. Source: science.nasa.gov

Today, the biggest astronomical event of the decade - a total solar eclipse - finally takes place, according to NASA. Nine cities in the UK and Ireland will be able to see a "partial" solar eclipse, where the sun is partially covered by the moon.

A total solar eclipse will be seen by approximately 32 million people in a narrow band of North and Central America. It occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, completely covering the face of the Sun.

Today is called the "Great American Eclipse". It is the first total solar eclipse to be seen worldwide since December 2021 and the first in the United States since August 2017.

Total darkness will last for up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds, while those not directly in the path of totality will see the sky darken as the Sun is partially hidden.

The full trajectory, where the eclipse will be fully visible, will pass from the Pacific coast of Mexico to US states including Texas, Illinois, Ohio and New York in the early afternoon local time.

It will then head towards Canada, moving from the city of Montreal to the provinces of New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

However, there may be a chance to see a partial eclipse just before sunset in the western UK and Ireland between around 19:50 BST and 20:50 BST.

Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Liverpool are among the British cities likely to have the best potential views, along with County Donegal in Ireland, said Dr Robert Massie, deputy director of the Royal Astronomical Society.

NASA reminds us of the safety rules for observing a solar eclipse. Except during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely covers the Sun's bright face, it is dangerous to look directly at the Sun without special solar viewing eye protection.

Viewing any part of the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or telescope without a special solar filter attached to the front of the optic will instantly cause serious eye injury. You should always look through safe solar viewing glasses ("eclipse glasses") or a safe handheld solar viewing device.

You can also safely view the solar eclipse online here.  


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