March 19, 2015, 2:49 p.m.View more articles
On Friday 20th March, the population of Svalbard is set to double, as more than 1500 shadow chasers descend on the remote islands to experience a total solar eclipse. Starting at around 10am local time, the Moon will pass directly between the Sun and the Earth, plunging the remote Norwegian archipelago into complete darkness for several minutes.
You don’t necessarily have to fly to Svalbard to see this incredible event. Most of Europe will experience a partial eclipse, in which the Moon obscures a section of the Sun. It will also be visible in parts of Asia and Africa, to a lesser extent. However, only Svalbard and the Faroe Islands have the privilege of seeing 100% solar coverage.
Whether you’re observing a total eclipse or a partial one, the risks remain the same. Looking directly at the Sun can result in permanent blindness – so if you intend to watch the eclipse, ensure you use specialist equipment. Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes!
The best way to watch the solar eclipse safely is to use a pinhole projector.
If you are missing out this time, don’t worry. Between two and five solar eclipses occur every year, with the next total eclipse due on 9th March 2016 over parts of Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
Watch Shadow Chasers and meet the enthusiasts who travel the globe to watch this phenomenon.