Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 7th to Sunday 13th June 2021

    There is a major event on Thursday 10th June with a partial eclipse of the Sun. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. The last full eclipse viewable from the UK was back in 1999. This partial eclipse will see approximately 20% of the Sun's surface blocked out by the Moon. It starts to occur just after 10am, with the maximum effect around 11.15am and it will all be over by 12.30pm.

    You must never look directly at the Sun, even with good quality sunglasses, as you will definitely damage your eyesight. Looking at the Sun through a telescope or binoculars will cause instant and permanent blindness. I cannot stress the importance of this warning enough!

    So how can you observe the eclipse then?

    You might have a pair of special eclipse glasses that were distributed by the Greenwich Observatory for the 1999 eclipse, but be careful as they will now be over 20 years old and may have been damaged while stored away in your loft!

    The safest method is to use a kitchen colander....yes the same gadget that drains your pasta! Place a sheet of white card or paper on the ground and hold the colander above it. The Sun's rays will project through the holes in the colander and show as multiple dots of light on the paper - this is called "pin hole projection". You will be able to see the blocking effect of the Moon on the individual dots. It's safer to use a plastic colander as a shiny Aluminium one will reflect sunlight into your face and the colander needs to have holes rather than slots. The neighbours will probably think you have gone mad, but at least your eyesight will be intact!

    Image courtesy of cloudbreakoptics
    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2021

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