WHAT IS A SOLAR ECLIPSE?

The team at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium were out today (Thursday 10 June) to capture a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse. It was the first one visible from Ireland since March 2015.

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth. A partial solar eclipse happens when the Moon only partly covers the Sun. The type of solar eclipse that will occur always depends on where the Moon is in its elliptical and slightly tilted orbit – this is why there isn’t a solar eclipse every month during the New Moon.

Senior Education Officer, Heather Alexander, at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium explains: “Today roughly 31% of the Sun was eclipsed by the Moon as seen from Armagh. Meanwhile, parts of Canada, the North Pole, and Eastern Siberia saw an annular eclipse, with the Moon over the middle of the Sun but not quite covering it, leaving a ‘ring of fire’ all around the edges. The next partial solar eclipse visible from Armagh will be on 25th October 2022, with less Sun eclipsed by the Moon than today.

“The equipment used by the team today is called a solarscope. It is a piece of equipment specially designed to safely observe the Sun. The view finder is pointed at the Sun and the magnified reflection of the Sun is then projected onto the cardboard. Specialist solar telescopes and filters were also used by our astronomers to view the eclipse. You should never look directly at the Sun.”

The Armagh Observatory and Planetarium will be reopening its doors on Saturday 26th June 2021 and will be unveiling its new exhibition space. Tickets are now on sale via https://www.armagh.space

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