A partial solar eclipse is set to grace skies in parts of Europe, Asia and North America this week as the moon passes between the sun and Earth.
On 10 June, weather permitting, skygazers in parts of Canada, Russia and Greenland will see an annular eclipse, which occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line with Earth, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun. This causes the sun to appear as a very bright ring, or annulus, in a phenomenon dubbed the “ring of fire”.
In other places, including the UK, Ireland, and north-eastern US, observers will see a partial eclipse, making the sun appear crescent-shaped.
If watching in the UK, the phenomenon will begin at 10.08am on 10 June and last until 12.22pm, with the maximum eclipse at 11.13am.
Around 20 per cent of the sun will be obscured in London, 32 per cent in Glasgow, 73 per cent in New York and 86 per cent in Toronto.
Even though a large part of the solar disc will be covered, looking at the partially eclipsed sun without appropriate protection can cause serious and permanent damage to the eyes.
“The eclipse from the UK will only be visible with certain techniques and optical aids. Never look at the sun directly or use standard sunglasses; it can cause serious harm to your eyes,” said Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
It is also not wise to look at the sun through binoculars, telescopes or a telephoto lens on an SLR camera. Drabek-Maunder suggests using a simple pinhole projector, solar eclipse viewing glasses – which can be purchased online – or special solar filters, which can fit on telescopes, to observe the eclipse.
“You can make a projector by poking a small hole into a piece of card,” she said. “Hold the card up to the sun so that light shines through the hole and onto a piece of paper behind the card.
“You will be able to see the shape of the sun projected onto the piece of paper and watch its shape change as the moon passes in front of the sun.”
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