The Cuckoo is no longer publishing but you can continue to enjoy our old articles.
Visualisation of how the eclipse will look from Penicuik. ©

Penicuik in Prime Position for Eclipse

The last solar eclipse for a decade will see Penicuik put into darkness during the morning of Friday 20 March.

At 9:35am on Friday 20 March, a large swathe of Europe will witness the final total solar eclipse until 2026, with an event of a similar magnitude not being witnessed, in Penicuik, again until 23 September 2090.

The partial eclipse will commence at 8:30am when the moon’s edge touches the sun’s. This should be observed, depending on weather conditions, to the south east. From a house in the town, one should look towards Mount Lothian.

For the next hour, the moon will continue its path in front of the sun until it reaches its point of maximum eclipse at 9:35am. At this time, 93% of the sun will be covered by the satellite, leaving only a slither of sunlight along the bottom. The partial eclipse will be at its maximum for around a minute before the moon emerges out the other side. Finally, at 10:44am, the eclipse will end.

Unfortunately few will witness the true total eclipse, which will be evident only in the Faroe Islands, and across an expanse of the North Sea. The further north you travel, the greater the event will be. Penicuik itself, will not see a total solar eclipse this century, though an annular (or near total eclipse) will be witnessed on 23 July 2093. An extremely rare phenomenon dubbed the “ring of fire” will be evident during this eclipse, where the sun’s rays glow along the outermost edges of the moon’s silhouette.

The MetOffice say:

On Friday 20 March a total solar eclipse will occur across the Arctic and in the far Northern regions of Europe. This is the last total solar eclipse in Europe for over a decade, with the next one not due until 2026

The UK will experience this as a deep partial eclipse with 84% of the Sun covered in London and 94% covered in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. In north-western Scotland, the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland Islands the maximum obscuration will exceed 95%.

There will also be a Supermoon the evening before the eclipse, meaning the Earth and Moon are as close together as they can be. This makes this 2015 Spring Equinox eclipse a supermoon eclipse, meaning a supermoon, equinox and eclipse will all fall on the same day.

However safety experts are warning viewers to not look directly at the eclipse. Instead, safe eclipse glasses can be used to look directly at the event. Other options include making a pinhole projector or using a special filter over your camera’s lens.

Of course the eclipse may not be visible at all, should the Scottish weather spoil the fun. If it is cloudy, all that will be witnessed is the change in light conditions. We’ll keep you updated with the latest forecast over on Facebook or Twitter.