Next UK solar eclipse: Biggest blackout since 1999

by ChinaBambi

Happy March 1st!

This month sees the Country plunged into darkness in biggest blackout since 1999!

The moon will cover the sun, blocking out its light, on the morning of March 20th.

Nearly 90 per cent of the sun’s rays will be blocked in parts of Europe – with some of Scotland seeing 94 per cent darkness. WOO!

Rare 'hybrid' Solar Eclipse viewed from Pakwach, Uganda

The blackout will begin in the UK at 8.45am and the maximum eclipse, when the moon is nearest the middle of the sun, will be at 9.31am.

The blackout will come to an end at 10.41am.

The August 1999 event was the first total eclipse since 1990 and the first seen in the UK since 1927!

So this is a big deal! I remember being a young kid when the last one was seen in the UK and my Dad helped us create a view finder to see it safely.

I’m even more excited cause thats the day I go to London so I get to see the Eclipse in the morning in Scotland prior to my trip to the McQueen Exhibition! What a day! 🙂

Pinhole Projector

There are safe ways to view the sun. The simplest requires only a long box (at least 6 feet long), a piece of aluminum foil, a pin, and a sheet of white paper. 

The length of the box is important. The longer the box, the bigger the pinhole image. To find the size of the image, multiply the length of the box by the number 0.0093. For a box that is 1 meter long, the image will be 0.0093 meters (or 9.3 mm) in diameter. If your box is 5 feet (60 inches) long, your solar image will be 60 x 0.0093 = 0.56 inches in diameter. If you want to round things off, the size of the image is about 1/100th the length of the box. 

If you can’t find a long box or tube, you can tape together two or more boxes to make a longer one. In the illustrations below, we found that taping together two triangular UPS shipping tubes works well. Of course, if you do this, you must cut out the cardboard at the ends of the tube in the middle!

1) Find or make a long box or tube.

How-to images
(Click on the image for expanded instructions)

2) Cut a hole in the center of one end of the box. 

3) Tape a piece of foil over the hole. 

4) Poke a small hole in the foil with a pin.

More How-To Images
(Click on the image for expanded instructions)

5) Cut a viewing hole in the side of the box.

Still More How-Ýo Images
(Click on the image for expanded instructions)

6) Put a piece of white paper inside the end of the box near the viewing portal.

Point the end of the box with the pinhole at the sun so that you see a round image on the paper at the other end. If you are having trouble pointing, look at the shadow of the box on the ground. Move the box so that the shadow looks like the end of the box (so the sides of the box are not casting a shadow). The round spot of light you see on the paper is a pinhole image of the sun. Do not look through the pinhole at the sun! Look only at the image on the paper.

Quick and Easy

How-To Images
(Click on the image for expanded instructions)

If you want, you can use only two pieces of cardboard–one piece colored white to project on to, and the other with a pinhole. Hold up the pinhole as far from the screen as you can. Remember, the farther you are from the screen, the bigger your image. 

Photo:Tree ShadowsPhoto: Use Your HandsGetting even more basic, you can use your own hands. Just hold up both hands with your fingers overlapping at right angles. The holes between your fingers make pinholes.




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