Solar eclipse cast a shadow over Fenland

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No Caption ABCDE ENGANL00120130627151941

The most significant solar eclipse since 1999 will cast a dark shadow over Fenland on Friday –but the spectacle is in danger of being hidden by cloud.

Friday’s partial eclipse begins at 8.30am and lasts for just over two hours as the moon moves in front of the sun. The maximum eclipse, when the moon is nearest the middle of the sun, will be at around 9.30am.

But like the 1999 total eclipse, forecasts show the cosmic event faces being blotted out by cloud.

The proportion of the sun covered by the moon will increase the further north you are. In Fenland, around 87 per cent of the sun will be covered, compared to 82 per cent in Devon and 92 per cent in Scotland.

And if you miss it, it will be 2026 before the next partial eclipse.

Alan Gosling, secretary of King’s Lynn and District Astronomy Society, said: “What we get to see will depend on the weather we get. If it’s cloudy we won’t see anything, it will just go a bit dark.

“Hopefully it will be a clear day, but as with all these things, living in the UK, we’re totally in the hands of the weather gods.”

Mr Gosling, who will be watching the eclipse at home through a telescope with a special filter, warned that people should not look directly at the sun during the eclipse, or use unfiltered binoculars or telescopes, as it can cause blindness.

“And despite what people may think, sunglasses are not suitable either,” he said.

For advice on how to view the eclipse safely, visit the Royal Astronomical Society website at: www.ras.org.uk