By Ellie-Louise Style
On Friday 20th March parts of Britain will have up to 98% of it’s light cut out due to one of the biggest solar eclipses ever seen since 1999.
Between the hours of 8:40am to 10:40am, a total solar eclipse will take place across most of Europe, which means Britain will also be able to witness it. It will last for approximately 2 hours, and will peak around 09:30am.
A solar eclipse is caused when the moon directly passes between the Sun and the Earth, which causes the light from the sun to be blocked.
Some of the highest parts of Scotland will have up to 98% of their light cut out, while the southern parts of the UK, for instance Norwich, will have 88% of the sun’s light cut out by the moon.
During an interview with The Telegraph Dr Edward Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, said: “The orbit of the moon around the earth is elliptical and slightly tilted so it’s rare for the sun, earth and moon to actually line up. This March there is an exact alignment so nearly all of the light will be blocked out.”
A special solar eclipse event will be held on Friday 20th March at Regents Park, London. So if anyone wants to see it more clearly they will be able to use high-tech equipment provided by The Royal Astronomical Society and The Baker Street Irregular Astronomers group. Seeing as the next total eclipse in Britain will be seen in 2090, it sounds like it might be worthwhile taking a quick trip to Regents Park.
However, some members of the public might be worried about the solar eclipse as it means that solar panels will not be generating any energy, due to the light shortage. This means that 1.5% of the UK’s energy supplies will be down, but it shouldn’t affect us too much. In Europe, solar panels create 10% of energy, so this could cause more problems, including major black outs in large parts of the continent.
The European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity, stated: “The risk of incident cannot be completely ruled out. Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.”