On Friday the moon will slide between the earth and the sun creating a total solar eclipse that only part of the world can see. The sun’s blocked light will cast an umbra — the moon’s shadow — that will start at the tip of Greenland and spread counterclockwise to the United Kingdom. The last total solar eclipse occurred Aug. 11, 1999. According to NASA, the next will be March 9, 2016, but only if you’re in eastern Asia and Australia.
Who can see the eclipse?
One-hundred percent occlusion, or full eclipse, will only be seen by Svalbard and the Faroe Islands. Northern Scotland and Ireland will see 90-95 percent occlusion and the UK will see 85 percent occlusion starting at 9:30 a.m. local time. Residents of northern and eastern Asia, as well as northern and western Africa will see partial occlusion. For the best time to view the eclipse visit the British Astronomical Association.
How can I see the Eclipse in the U.S.?
Although, the eclipse can’t be seen from the U.S., there are multiple ways to view this celestial event as long as you have internet access. The Slooh Community Observatory is allowing sky gazers to view the eclipse through a live broadcast on their website starting at 4:30 a.m. EDT. The Virtual Telescope Project will host live views of the event on Space.com at 4:30 a.m. as well.
How can I safely view the eclipse?
If you are lucky enough to actually see the eclipse, remember the most important rule for viewing this astronomical event is to never look directly at the eclipse. Ophthalmologists warn it can cause permanent damage or burn your retina. This means no solar selfies, cameras, binoculars or telescopes. The safest way to view the astronomical event is with special solar viewing shades or through a pinhole.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the correct date for the next total solar eclipse. It is March 9, 2016.