Excitement is building ahead of a partial solar eclipse in Northampton this morning.
The partial eclipse will take place between 8.26am and 10.41am on Friday when the moon will pass across the surface of the sun.
In Northamptonshire the weather is forecast to be cloudy and sunny later on.
Northampton astronomer Alastair Leith explains: “A partial eclipse is when the moon passes across the surface of the sun, but only partially covering the sun’s surface. This is what we can expect to see from Northamptonshire on March 20.
“The same event will appear as a total eclipse in Svalbard in Norway and in the Faroe Islands.”
A solar eclipse is caused when the moon passes in front of our view of the sun, blocking its light. There are three types of eclipse, including a total, annular or partial eclipse, and the type we experience depends on the distance between the moon and Earth, and what portion of the sun the moon covers from the perspective of our specific location on Earth.
Friday’s eclipse will be visible around the same time from other parts of the UK, covering up to 90 per cent of the sun’s light.
The last total eclipse visible from the UK was in 1999, on August 11, when the moon completely blocked the sun as it passed over Cornwall.
Anyone interested in viewing the eclipse is advised not to look at it directly or indirectly without special solar glasses.
Instead, you can use the pinhole method by using either a colander, refracting telescope or card with a hole cut into it to project the eclipse onto another piece of paper
A partial eclipse is when the moon passes across the surface of the sun, but only partially covering the sun’s surfaceAlastair Leith
Please take care when taking pictures and do not look directly into the sun.
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13 fascinating facts about the solar eclipse
Most of the sun will be blocked out by a solar eclipse on Friday. Here’s our take on the event.
1. Up to 87 per cent of the sun will be covered in the Portsmouth area as the moon passes in front of it on Friday morning.
2. The incredible spectacle begins at around 8.22am, reaches its maximum extent at 9.29am, and ends at 10.39am.
3. In Vietnam, people seeing an eclipse believed that a giant frog was devouring the Sun, while in ancient China a hungry celestial dragon was thought to be responsible.
4. According to ancient Hindu mythology, the demon Rahu is beheaded by the supreme deity Vishnu for drinking the nectar of the gods. His head flies across the sky and swallows the Sun.
5. It was common practice for people to bang pots and pans and make loud noises during a eclipse to scare the demon away.
6. Korean folklore tells of the Sun being stolen by mythical dogs, while in Europe, the Vikings blamed wolves for consuming the Sun.
7. The ancient Greeks believed a solar eclipse was a sign that the gods were angry, and that it heralded disasters and destruction.
8. Among modern superstitions is the belief that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women and unborn children. In some cultures, young children and expectant mothers are asked to stay indoors during an eclipse.
9. In parts of India, people still fast during a solar eclipse because of the fear that any food cooked during the event will be poisoned.
10. A few superstitions offer a positive slant on eclipses. In Italy some believe that flowers planted during a solar eclipse will be brighter and more colourful than at any other time.
11. The Batammaliba people from Benin and Togo in West Africa have a legend that during an eclipse the Sun and Moon are fighting. The only way to stop the conflict, they believe, is for people on Earth to settle their differences.
12. The last solar eclipse of such significance occurred on August 11 1999, and was “total” - with 100% of the Sun covered - when seen from Cornwall
13. The next total eclipse is not until September 2090
Experts have warned people not to look directly at the sun
Find out more about the eclipse here SOLAR ECLIPSE
Here’s how to stay safe during this week’s solar eclipse STAY SAFE
How to photograph the Partial Solar Eclipse HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH
Check tomorrow’s weather here WEATHER