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Solar Eclipse

There'll be a solar eclipse above the Fylde Coast on Friday morning - find out more...

On Friday this week (20 March 2015) there are three things happening in the heavens, so let's hope for a clear sky to see two of them.

On Friday, there's a solar eclipse and a supermoon.

And here it is... the eclipse captured live at 9.25 am on Friday 20 March in Cleveleys, right here on the Fylde Coast

Solar Eclipse at Cleveleys

For most of the morning, thick cloud cover made it look like this:

solar eclipse in Cleveleys

It didn't go as dark as I expected it to, it just felt like a cold, dull day in the middle of winter. The street lights didn't come on either, although the seagulls were squawking as if they weren't keen!

Have a look at this video clip.

Cleveleys beach at the eclipse


Solar Eclipse

On Friday morning there's a solar eclipse - where the moon lines up between the earth and the sun, to momentarily block out the sun and its light.

The eclipse will start from about 8.30am when the moon will slowly start to pass in front of the moon over the course of about an hour. It will take about another hour for things to return to normal.

The most complete view of the eclipse will be at about 9.30am and depending on where you are in the UK you will see different amounts of coverage - assuming of course that the sky isn't covered in cloud, in which case it will feel cooler and go very dull.


Supermoon

Over the last twelve months the moon has been in it's closest orbit of earth, which is what's caused some of the unusually high tides since last September.

In doing it's closest fly-past the earth, the moon looks bigger than normal hence it's been dubbed a 'supermoon', and for sky-gazers and photographers alike it provides some really attractive sights.

There are between three and six supermoons in any given year - and in 2015 there are six. We've seen two already - 20 March is the third one, and the others are in August, September and October.

Spring Equinox

Friday is also the Spring equinox. This marks the day when there are equal hours of daylight and darkness, and heralds the approach of Spring proper and the warmer months of summer.

Other than sitting with a stopwatch, the equinox isn't something which you can 'see' as being any different in appearance to any other normal day.

It is a marker in the calendar, and it's a day which is celebrated as a day of rebirth.

However, it's very rare for these three things to happen at the same time.


Safety First!

DO NOT look straight at the sun with the naked eye even during the eclipse - it can cause permanent eye damage and even blindness.

Solar burns to the retina are not painful and the loss of vision is not always immediate but can take hours or days to develop and there is no treatment for it.

DO NOT use binoculars or a telescope, or view it through a camera lens.

DO NOT view the eclipse through smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarised shades or photographic filters.

DO wear special eclipse viewing glasses - not ordinary sunglasses. 

Eclipse glasses are made from safe solar filter materials similar to the eye protection worn by arc welders that have a rating of 14 or higher. These can be bought online from a trusted source.

DO make a simple pinhole camera to project the image of the sun onto a blank sheet of paper.

Get two pieces of white card; poke a small hole in one piece of card using a compass or something sharp. Stand with your back to the sun, holding both cards up, with the one with the pinhole nearest to you.

The light through the pinhole will be projected on to the second piece of card, allowing the eclipse to be viewed safely. Never look through the pinhole at the sun, only at the projected image.


More reading

If you're interested in all the science behind a solar eclipse, have a read at the page about it on Wikipedia, here.

Solar eclipse

Spot the deliberate mistake: This is a stock photo - the sun won't be over the sea on the west coast at 9.30am...

Supermoon

This is one of our own photos of a 'Supermoon' over Cleveleys

 
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