For the first time since 1999, an almost complete solar eclipse will darken UK skies on Friday 20 March. So how can we safely make the most of it?
It's common knowledge that looking up at the Sun is dangerous and at 400,000 times brighter than the Moon at its fullest, perhaps it's not a surprise that it could cause some serious lasting damage to your poor, defenseless retinas.
The MET Office's official eclipse map - we will see between 90 to 95% of the Solar Eclipse
There are ways you can make sure that this momentous event doesn't pass you by though, so read on and you could be telling everyone how you witnessed the Moon blocking out 90-95% of the Sun at 9:33am on Friday 20 March 2015. Take it from those who can remember 1999's total eclipse - it's a pretty special sight.
1. Use a colander
That's right - the humble veg-and-pasta-drainer that lives in your kitchen cupboard will come in extremely handy on Friday 20 March. You can transform it from utensil to celestial viewing platform really simply too just by following the following steps.
- Stand with your back to the Sun, facing a wall or in front of a piece of paper
- Aim the colander so that the Sun's light is visible through the holes on the wall or paper
- When the Moon begins to move across the Sun, you'll be able to see the 'holes' of light change shape and turn to crescents. That's the eclipse you're looking at!
2. DO NOT USE YOUR CAMERA OR SMARTPHONE
The Sun's light is capable of burning your eyes, so using your camera lens, smartphone camera or even worse, binoculars or a telescope to view the eclipse is going to do some serious damage.
Even if you don't view the Sun through a lens directly - for example, if you were to use your iPhone camera to take a photo - there is a high possibility that you could ruin your camera lens or the mechanism inside just due to the strength of the light.
In summary: NO ECLIPSE SELFIES
3. Only use approved lenses or eclipse viewing glasses to see the eclipse
Around the College, the Centre of Engineering Excellence has provided a number of specialised dark lenses made specially to protect the eyes while viewing the eclipse. Each division head has been given some of these lenses, so please ask your tutors for more information if you'd be interested in borrowing one.
There are also special eclipse viewing glasses that have been offered by the BBC and other Astronomy sites and magazines and these are perfect to view the eclipse through. If you have some of these, please let your tutor know and they can check them for any damage before you use them.
4. Make a pinhole observer
You might not have time to make this before tomorrow morning at 9:33am, however if you've got some cardboard boxes, tape and an hour or so this evening, you could make a pinhole observer.
The Glasgow Science Centre have made a video to show exactly how to do it, take a look below for full instructions.
Please remember though, we do live in Lancashire where the weather is often unpredictable. It has been forecasted to be cloudy during the eclipse however it will get noticeably darker as the Moon makes its journey across the sun.
All we can do now is hope for a clear morning and look forward to witnessing something exciting in the skies of Burnley!
Source Url: http://www.burnley.ac.uk/the-eclipse-is-coming-but-will-we-be-able-to-see-it/