Thursday, 19 March 2015

Waiting for solar eclipse


A rare rush-hour solar eclipse will throw Briton into darkness this week as the moon’s orbit will roam across the face of the sun. Experts have issued warnings about the “serious


risks” of staring directly at the spectacle. For the first time in 16 years, the sun will be eclipsed by the moon for two hours on Friday March 20, beginning at 08.30 GMT. Observers in the UK and Ireland will be able to witness a partial solar eclipse, with up to 97 percent of the sun blocked out. Those viewing in London will see 84 percent of the sun covered, whereas in Edinburgh the proportion is 93 percent. Outdoor gatherings will be held nationwide to witness the rare phenomenon, which will not happen again until August 12, 2026. The timing of Friday’s eclipse could present some hazardous conditions for road users, however, as the celestial event coincides with the morning rush hour. Road safety regulators have urged motorists to keep their eyes firmly on the road. A Highways Agency spokesperson told The Independent: “Safety is a top priority. As always, we advise road users to drive carefully, adjusting their driving according to weather and road conditions and during the eclipse we’d ask them to do the same.” Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), said: “Unlike every other eclipse of any size, this one takes place right in the middle of the rush hour. It’s not the best time from a safety point of view.” Although the majority of the sun will be covered, looking directly at the eclipse without eye protection can cause “serious and permanent damage.” Damage may lead to permanent blindness caused by the sun’s scorching rays. http://rt.com/uk/241133-solar-eclipse-uk-hazard/

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