Chance to see solar eclipse in Whitby

Whitby and District Astronomical Society's Mark Dawson
Whitby and District Astronomical Society's Mark Dawson

A solar eclipse will be visible in Whitby next week – and there will not be another for the next 11 years.

rken across the country on Friday March 20, at around 8.30am before the eclipse reaches its peak at approximately 9.37am.

And even though a total eclipse of the sun will be seen only from the Svalbard islands, Norway, and the Faroe Islands, Whitby and the rest of the region is still set to experience the stunning cosmic event with astronomers estimating around 90 per cent of the sun will be obscured.

Mark Dawson from Whitby and District Astronomical Society said: “Few phenomena rival this wondrous spectacle.

“It is a magnificent and coincidental outcome of planetary orbital mechanics, as our nearest star is occulted by the moon causing its shadow to cut a swath across a part of our globe.

“A very substantial partial eclipse will be witnessed from our neighbourhood, which will amount to around 90 per cent, only 5 per cent less than the 1999 eclipse- as seen from Whitby.”

Mid-eclipse will occur at around 9:37 am with the eclipse starting just over an hour before this, and ending at 10.42am. Members of Whitby and District Astronomical Society will be hosting an eclipse event from the bandstand on Pier Road.

Weather permitting, they plan to be there from 8.15am until 10.30am. All welcome.

The next major solar eclipse will not be until Aug 2026, which will be similar to the March 20 event, after that we have to wait until 2090 for one of a similar magnitude.

Mr Dawson is urging people keen to be careful when taking in the eclipse.

Readers are advised only to observe the event with special stargazing glasses or filters for binoculars and telescopes.

“Never directly look at the sun through any optical instrument unless a suitable solar filter is used or you could permanently damage your eyesight,” he added.

“People should remember that the sun is 1,000,000 times brighter than the moon.”