London Event: Greenwich’s Royal Observatory hosts a free day of events this week

LONDON, 2015-3-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — This week one of the world’s most important historic astronomical locations will offer a rare chance to see the astronomical spectacle of a near total solar eclipse on British soil. The last solar eclipse of such significance that could be seen in the UK was more than 15 years ago, on 11 August 1999. However, on Friday 20 March, this will happen again and to mark this extraordinary event, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich will open at 8am allowing the public to view the whole of the eclipse. The Royal Observatory is the traditional home of astronomy in London as well as the location of the international time line. Greenwich is home to numerous historic museums and venues, as well as some of the best pubs, shops, restaurants and cheap hotels in London. For more on the area, see LondonTown.com.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon’s apparent diameter is the same as or larger than the sun, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality can be seen in a narrow path across the Earth’s surface, and a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of kilometres wide. This eclipse will take place when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth on Friday, starting at 08:24 GMT and ending at 10:41 GMT. The maximum obscuration of the sun in London will be up to 84.47% at 09:31GMT. To mark the event, the Royal Observatory will hold a morning of safe observing through telescopes and solar viewers. Also, the Observatory’s astronomy team and members of the Flamsteed Astronomy Society will be on hand to supervise and answer any questions. All binoculars and telescopes must be suitably equipped with adequate filtration to ensure safe solar viewing. Observers should never look directly at the sun. Permanent eye damage can result.

Total solar eclipses in the UK are rare astronomical events. Despite occurring somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average, it is predicted that they recur at any given place just once every 360 to 410 years, on average. The next total eclipse visible in the UK will be 23 September 2090, but the next similar partial eclipse will be visible much sooner, on 12 August 2026. For more information on this and other events at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and its neighbouring museums, the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s Gallery, see LondonTown.com.

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