UK solar eclipse: How to enjoy the spectacle safely

See the solar eclipse in Whitby
See the solar eclipse in Whitby

People in Whitby have the opportunity to see a solar eclipse tomorrow (Friday).

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.

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.

Although the eclipse is a spectacle not be missed – there will not be another one for 11 years – it is important to stay safe while taking it in.

Looking at the sun directly could result in permanent damage to your sight.

The best way to keep your eyes safe during the eclipse is by wearing specialist shades.

Sunglasses don’t provide sufficient protection so purchasing glasses designed especially for the occasion that come with the CE mark – meaning that they’ve been approved and meet the requirements of the EU – is your best bet for safe viewing.

Drivers have been urged not to take their eyes off the road on Friday morning, amid fears that the first ever ‘rush hour eclipse’ could cause accidents on the roads in and around Whitby.

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “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.”

Anyone wishing to capture the eclipse on camera should take certain precautions to avoid damage to both their eyes and photographic equipment.

The lens in your camera, just like the one in your eye, can amplify the brightness of the sun and damage it. And since solar eclipses are all light, ensuring that the camera is set up right can be key to getting good photos, as well as keeping yourself and your camera safe.

When taking pictures of any solar eclipse, it is recommended that photographers use a solar filter.

Those small filters, which slot on the top of a camera lens or can be laid across it, can be bought easily online. They work by limiting the amount of lights that goes through the lens, protecting the camera from the bright light.

It also works to keep the light from shining in your eyes. As you look through the camera to line up the shot, you run the risk of looking at the sun and endangering your eyes.

If you decide to take a picture with your camera phone, or use it as a way of looking at the sun, ensure that you don’t do it for any more time than absolutely necessary.