At least 90% of our earth’s Sun will be covered by the Moon on Friday next, (March 20th, 2015), thus creating something of an unusual spectacle for Thurles viewers, weather permitting of course. Indeed Met Éireann claim that the south of Ireland could be the best region from which to view this partial solar eclipse.
Since Ireland resides in that zone where the Sun is not totally obscured by the moon, we will therefore only experience a partial eclipse, rather than, as in some areas of the globe, a total eclipse. An area running north through the middle of the Atlantic and up over the Arctic will in fact only experience a full solar eclipse.
Here in Thurles this phenomenon should starts around 8.23am and run until 10.36am, with the peak of the eclipse reached at around 9.27am. If our skies are very cloudy, it will not be possible to observe same, although its effect will be felt as it will get somewhat darker and it will also feel much colder. If our sky’s are clear however it will be possible to see the very distinct outline of the moon passing slowly across the shape of the Sun, from right to left.
The last time an eclipse was visible from Ireland was in 1999 and it will be 2026 before yet another partial one is seen here in Thurles again. Indeed it will be 2090 before a total solar eclipse is next visible from this part of our globe.
Warning: Do not personally look directly at this upcoming Friday spectacle and in particular impress upon your children that direct eye contact can severely damage eyes and even lead to blindness. You may be lucky enough to own a pair of special Solar Glasses or welding goggles or welding shield, all of which have sufficient filtration to fully protect your eyes from any such harmful effects of the Sun’s rays.
Of course for those of you anxious to view and who own none of the above, best to line a bucket with a black plastic bin liner before filling the bucket to the top with water. This done; view in safety the eclipse reflected on the surface of the water only. Latter is a safe and an ideal method of viewing this spectacle by groups of children, especially in a supervised educational setting, while using several such bucket apparatuses spread out.