Prepare Yourself for Tomorrow’s Solar Eclipse

On Friday morning Ireland will be consumed by darkness. A zombie will wander through the streets yearning for sustenance confused by the unnatural dark skies. Well, at least I feel like a zombie at 8am in dire need of caffeine and breakfast most mornings and this Friday there will be a solar eclipse to totally mess with my circadian rhythm.

Solar eclipses happen every year but are most often only seen from remote regions of the planet. On March 20th the best eclipse point lies in the middle of the sea West of Iceland and North of Scotland. However, lucky Ireland will see a 91-95.5% eclipse with the best vantage points in Derry and Donegal. The next solar eclipse visible from Ireland will be in 2026 so don’t miss this one. 2015’s celestial event takes place between 8am and 11am with the eclipse high point occurring around 9:30am, give or take ten minutes, depending where in the country you are.

NASA image of solar eclipse Northern Australia 2012
A total solar eclipse was visible from the Northern tip of Australia on Nov. 13, 2012 at 3:35 EST. The light halo visible around the edges of the moon is the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.
Photo credit: CNES/CNRS/NASA

Organised viewings hosted by astronomers are the best way to experience the eclipse as the safety gear required to look at the sun will be available. Astronomy Ireland will hold a viewing in their headquarters in Blanchardstown and astronomers in Trinity College are inviting the public to join them in the University’s Front Square. You can follow news about the eclipse on twitter @eclipse2015ie. Take a look at the eclipse 2015 website for more options and contact your local astronomy club. but remember, DO NOT LOOK AT THE ECLIPSE DIRECTLY!

If you can’t get your hands on special equipment then make a pinhole camera. Punch a hole in a piece of card with a pin and hold it above a white piece of paper. The image on the paper will show you the moon as it moves to cover the sun. See instructions from astronomy now.

Take a look at this fantastic video on eclipses so you can impress your friends with your knowledge of eclipse terminology such as corona (not a beer), umbra (sounds like a Mexican wrestler), the diamond ring effect (looks like a sparkler). Curious? Press play.


Featured photo by Domenico Salvagnin