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Solar eclipse 2017: how to watch it in the UK

total solar eclipse uk 1999.jpg

A solar eclipse is a magical event, as anyone who has been lucky enough to witness one will tell you.

After all, who could fail to feel a moment of childlike wonder as the moon blocks the sun’s light from reaching the earth, plunging us into complete darkness and illuminating the stars right in the middle of the day?

The last time this rare occurrence was visible in the UK was back in August 1999, when a total solar eclipse threw Cornwall and parts of South Devon into temporary darkness.

And now the world is eagerly preparing for the next eclipse, which is set to take place today and is expected to be the most observed – and most photographed – eclipse in history.

The event will occur as the moon passes between the sun and the earth, temporarily causing a dark shadow to fall over the earth. This will not only lower the temperature, but it will also reveal the stars and planets above us.

The sun is blocked by the moon in a partial solar eclipse

The sun is blocked by the moon in a partial solar eclipse

The eclipse will be most noticeable in parts of America, with a total solar eclipse visible along a stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, where millions of people are preparing to gather to watch the spectacle.

And while we won’t be treated to a full eclipse here in Europe, we will be able to see a partial solar eclipse, with the moon covering 4% of the sun.


Read more: Beautiful images of a rare summer solstice


The moment, described by astrologers as the moon appearing to take a “bite” out of the sun, will be visible at varying times from 7.30pm to 8.07pm, depending on where you are in the UK.

However, meteorologists are warning that the UK’s typical summer fare of grey clouds and drizzly weather could obscure the eclipse completely, in which case you will be better off watching NASA’s live stream here from 5pm to 9pm.

The process of a partial solar eclipse, as seen in South Africa last year

The process of a partial solar eclipse, as seen in South Africa last year

So, what time could the partial eclipse be visible in your part of the UK this evening?

Check the list below and cross your fingers for a clear-skied miracle…

London 8:04pm 

Brighton 8:05pm 

Plymouth 8:07pm 

Cardiff 8:05pm 

Birmingham 8:03pm 

Manchester 8:02pm 

Norwich 8:02pm 

Edinburgh 7:58pm 

Lerwick 7:51pm 

Glasgow 7:28pm 

Belfast 8:00pm

Images: Rex Features

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