Eclipse: How and when to watch the partial solar eclipse on Thursday

Bayfordbury Observatory will live stream the partial solar eclipse on its YouTube channel.

Bayfordbury Observatory will live stream the partial solar eclipse on its YouTube channel. - Credit: Supplied by University of Hertfordshire

Skygazers across the UK will be watching this week's partial solar eclipse when the Sun's light is blocked out by the Moon.

Here's how to see this week's partial eclipse safely.

When is the next partial solar eclipse?

There's a partial solar eclipse on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

On Thursday morning, astronomers in the south east of England will be able to see nearly a third of the Sun being blocked out by the Moon. 

View of Bayfordbury Observatory domes

View of Bayfordbury Observatory domes - Credit: University of Hertfordshire

The team at Bayfordbury Observatory, the University of Hertfordshire’s teaching observatory for astronomy and astrophysics, will live stream the partial solar eclipse on its YouTube channel this Thursday – clear skies permitting.


What time is the partial eclipse?

The partial eclipse will begin in the UK just after 10am on June 10th and will finish around 12.30pm, with the maximum eclipse occurring in Hatfield around 11.13am.

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Dr Samantha Rolfe, principal technical officer at Bayfordbury Observatory in Hertfordshire, said: “Eclipses are not your everyday occurrence, and they are particularly exciting to watch when they do happen.

"Despite the recent bright, sunny weather, the forecast for Thursday isn’t looking too promising, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for clear skies.

"Even patchy cloud will be enough to get a good view of the event.”

If you miss this week's one, the next opportunity to see a partial solar eclipse in the UK will be October 25, 2022.  


What is an eclipse?

The phenomenon occurs when the Moon blocks part of the Sun, causing it to appear crescent-shaped. 

Some countries in the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of Canada, Russia and Greenland, will this week be treated to what is known as an annular eclipse.

This is where the Moon is not at its closest to the Earth, therefore appearing slightly smaller than the Sun, causing a thin outer ring of the Sun to be visible.


How to watch an eclipse?

You must never look at the Sun, either directly or through binoculars and telescopes.

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.

It is not advised to look at the sun directly through sunglasses, binoculars, telescopes or a telephoto lens on an SLR camera. 

Instead you can create a homemade pinhole camera to watch the eclipse, which is a card with a pinhole in the centre held above a plain piece of paper.

Other safe ways to view the eclipse include special solar filters, which can fit on telescopes, or solar eclipse viewing glasses.

You can also watch the partial solar eclipse live from Bayfordbury Observatory for free on YouTube from 10am on June 10. 

Bayfordbury Observatory, near Hertford, is is one of the best equipped and largest teaching observatories in the country.

For more information, visit herts.ac.uk/bayfordbury/bayfordbury-observatory

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