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Solar Eclipse 2015: 13 facts you ought to know

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Stargazers are waiting in anticipation for Europe to experience its biggest solar eclipse in 15 years.

Later this month, the moon is expected to block the sun’s rays for almost two hours.

To prepare you for the event, we thought we would pull together 13 facts to ought to know about a solar eclipse:

1. What is a solar eclipse?

A Solar Eclipse is a natural event that takes place when the moon moves in its orbit between the Earth and the sun, thereby blocking the sun’s rays.

2. When will the next solar eclipse be visible from the UK?

The full eclipse will be visible in Norway, but a partial eclipse can be seen in the UK on the morning of Friday, March 20.

3. When will it occur?

The eclipse will begin between 8.45am. It will peak at 9.31am before finishing at 10.41am.

4. Where will the best views in the UK be for the solar eclipse in 2015?

The best views will be across north-west Scotland, where over 95 per cent of the sun will become obscured by the moon.

But, in London and south-east England 85 per cent of the sun will be covered.

5. How can you watch it?

Make sure you don’t look straight into the sun as it can permanently damage the back of your eye.

The key thing is to get some kind of dimming lens to watch the solar eclipse through.

6. Will it affect power supplies?

There are fears the blackout will disrupt UK renewable energy supplies, with an increased reliance on solar energy since the last solar eclipse in August 1999.

Energy groups have worked to prevent any problems from occurring, but concerns remain that systems could see problems as people head into work and the power providers are dealing with the eclipse.

7. How often do they occur?

Each year there are between two and five solar eclipses, but the event in 2015 will be the biggest solar eclipse in 15 years.

8. When was the last solar eclipse?

The last total eclipse in the UK occurred in August 1999.

9. How many viewers watched the last solar eclipse on TV?

The last event was televised on BBC One and attracted more than nine million viewers at 9.15am.

10. When was a solar eclipse first televised?

A solar eclipse was televised to a national audience for the first time on March 7, 1951.

11. When was the first total solar eclipse of the 21st century?

The first total solar eclipse of the 21st century took place on June 21, 2001.

12. When will the next one be?

The next partial solar eclipse will take place on August 21, 2017. And the next total solar eclipse to reach the UK won’t be until September 2090.

13. What is the worst myth about a solar eclipse?

A popular misconception is that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women and their unborn child.

In many cultures, young children and pregnant women are asked to stay indoors during a solar eclipse.

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