On March 20, 2015, a small portion of the earth will experience a total eclipse of the sun. This solar eclipse will be the first total eclipse since November 3, 2013.
Even though the audience will be small, the solar eclipse will be one to remember and hopefully produce some spectacular images to share with the public. If you are in Europe, this is your prime time to catch a LIVE view of this event!
The shadow of the solar eclipse will start at the southern tip of Greenland and move counterclockwise toward the northeast, moving by the United Kingdom and Iceland. The shadow will then move over the Faroe Islands and then on to the Norwegian Island group, Svalbard. As it reaches the North Pole, the shadow will leave the earth entirely.
The Faroe Islands are actually 18 large Islands grouped together. They make up over 500 square miles (more than a thousand kilometers). Here, more than 50,000 people may get the chance to view the full splendor of the eclipse. The greatest view, however, will be north of the Islands, in the Norwegian Sea. Fishermen will have up to 2 minutes of total solar eclipse!! In fact, the shadow of the eclipse will measure about 90 miles (150 kilometers long).
The shadow of the eclipse will make a last stop north of the Faroes at a Norwegian Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. An Island group called Svalbard, with a little more than 2,000 in population, will be the last to see the eclipse before the event has ended. One Island, in particular, Barentsberg on Spitzbergen, will have the opportunity to view a full 2 minutes and 20 seconds of the eclipse at 10:11 GMT. Other than research stations around Greenland, Nunavut, and Nord, Svalbard is the northernmost land before reaching the North Pole.
The only deterrent for a grand view of this event would be the weather. Unfortunately, there is only a 20 percent chance of clear skies for Svalbard and a little more than 30 percent for Spitzbergen. The transition from winter to spring always calls for difficult skies, but there is a small chance conditions could be surprising.
Populations of Europe, Asia and Africa can glimpse a large partial eclipse as well. To catch a view of at least 90 percent of the eclipse, you will have to be located in Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Partial eclipse shadows, between 50 and 80 percent, can be viewed across the mid-European continent.
The reason for the unusual dimensions of the eclipse is because the moon will be the closest to the earth in its orbit (perigee), only about 222,192 miles (357,584 kilometers). Since the shadow is passing over the arctic as it reaches earth, an oblique pattern will shape the eclipse.
Catch a Glimpse!
If you cannot see the eclipse in person, which is preferable, then you can catch this live show online. Slooh Community Observatory, beginning at 4:30 a.m. EDT will broadcast the event. The Virtual Telescope Project will air the live event which may possibly be viewed on Space.com.
To find out where and when, check EclipseWise and remember, be very careful when viewing! Enjoy!