Tips & Hints: How to safely observe & photograph tomorrows solar eclipse

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hopefully the clouds stay away on the 20th march

Britain’s most complete solar eclipse in 16 years will block out as much as 90 percent of sunlight across the UK tomorrow morning so we are giving you some handy tips and plenty of time to safely prepare for this rare event. 

A solar eclipse, when the moon covers the sun blocking out its light, will take place tomorrow morning.

The blackout will begin in the UK at 8.45am and the maximum eclipse, when the moon is nearest the middle of the sun, will be at 9.31am and It is due to end at 10.41am.

Read our top tips below to safely observe next months eclipse.

Projection:

All you need is a 2 pieces of white card, onto which you project the image of the Sun from your scope or binoculars.

Fix another piece around the front end of the scope to create a shadow around the projection like in the picture below.

This will project the sun onto the piece of paper giving you a live safe view of the sun being eaten away by the moon.

IMG_3700

Solar projection is the cheapest way to observe the sun

Safely looking at the eclipse:

You can purchase solar filters for your telescopes from specialist retailers if you want a close look at the eclipse.

You can make your own solar filter if you don’t have the money to buy one (as they can often be expensive).

Check out a video here by BBC Sky at night on how to make one.

REMEMBER: Never look at the sun without the right protection or filters, it can damage your eyes and equipment!

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Never look at the sun with out the right solar protection.

Photographing the eclipse:

When photographing the eclipse, the lens in your camera, just like your eye, can amplify the brightness of the sun and damage it, so again, it’s important to get a solar filter to keep it safe.

Try to use a long focal length, longer the better, and a tripod.

You will be quickly surprised; finding the Sun using a filter with a long lens it’s not very easy.

The sky will be pitch black except for the disk of the Sun, use the shadow of your camera/lens from a tripod as a quick approximation and then quickly scan the area using live-view until you find the Sun.

You can use almost any camera, with a long zoom, It’s a good idea to take a number of pictures, because the light can change quickly as the eclipse is happening.

The most important thing is to try out different settings and get as many photos as you can.

Hopefully the clouds stay away to provide a clear view. We will keep you updated on the weather in the run up to the event on our Facebook and twitter pages.

MORE: Solar Eclipse Weather – Will we be able to watch the eclipse tomorrow ?

Check out the video below of when Brian Cox wintessed a solar eclipse on BBC’s Wonders of the Universe:

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