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Eclipse in Kent likely to be overshadowed by clouds says South East Kent Astronomical Society

The weather could cast a cloud over hopes of seeing a rare eclipse of the sun on Friday morning.

The forecast is for a gloomy day and local astronomers admit the chance of witnessing a good example of the phenomenon are slim.

The best viewing in the UK will be across north-west Scotland, where 95% of the sun will be obscured by the moon.

The solar eclipse in Europe at the beginning of January 2011

The solar eclipse in Europe at the beginning of January 2011

In the South East around 85% is expected to be covered.

South East Kent Astronomical Society chairman Martin Hemsley said: “The weather is looking a bit iffy, which is disappointing because we don’t get to experience it very often.

“It’s nice to get good images, and we will film it and then create a picture from the best moment. But it will rely on the cloud thinning, so we are just keeping our fingers crossed.”

A total solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse

East Kent weather watcher Peter Gay agreed the forecast was not promising.

He said: “It could be rather cloudy on Friday morning, but with luck there may be a few breaks around 9.30am, when the eclipse is at its peak.

“But it should only be viewed through proper dark glasses. The sun will still be fairly low so it’s best to stay away from tall buildings.

“Anywhere else with a clear view of the sky to the south should be fine, like the Westgate Gardens in Canterbury, the hills around the city and the coast.

“As the light fades, you should also feel the temperature dropping.

Local weather watcher Peter Gay

Local weather watcher Peter Gay

“I watched the August 1999 solar eclipse at Lympne, where it was sunny. The next major eclipse visible here will be August 12, 2026, but the next total eclipse in Britain is not predicted until September 23, 2090.”

Anyone hoping to see the eclipse is strongly advised not to look directly at the sun without special glasses.

The safest way to view it is through a pinhole projector, which can easily be made with two pieces of white card.

If you are using a telescope, ensure a darkened filter is placed over the lens.

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