Solar eclipse 2021: When the June 10 partial eclipse will reach its peak over the Bishop's Stortford area
People in Hertfordshire and Essex will be able to see a partial eclipse of the Sun on June 10 – their last opportunity for 16 months.
The annular solar eclipse next Thursday morning will be one of only two eclipses this year, the other being over Antarctica in December. The next partial eclipse will be October 2022 and the next total eclipse over Europe is five years off – in August 2026.
Solar eclipses fall into two categories: total and annular. Due to the Earth and the Moon both having elliptical orbits, the Moon can sometimes cover the Sun's face but leave a visible ring of Sun's light. This is an annular eclipse.
The eclipse will start over the Atlantic Ocean at 9.12am our time before tracing a path up over Canada, Greenland and the Arctic region before ending in eastern Russia about five hours later.
Bishop's Stortford will start to see the eclipse on Thursday morning at 10.09am and it will reach its peak over the town at 11.14am. At this point just over 20% of the Sun's face will be covered by the Moon.
The Moon will then appear to rise off the Sun, which will be fully uncovered by 12.24pm. In all it will last about two-and-a-quarter hours.
Dos and don'ts for viewing a solar eclipse
You should never look directly at the Sun. Because of the way our eyes work, you may not even realise that you are damaging yours at the time and the effects can sometimes take a while to appear. You can cause permanent blindness by looking directly at the Sun. Again – never look directly at the Sun.
There are some really simple ways to safely observe a solar eclipse. The Royal Astronomical Society has produced four, some using household objects, that will mean you and your children can view this rare event:
- Eclipse viewers or shades – These are over-the-ear devices like those you wear to watch a 3D film. You should always buy a pair rather than making your own using bin liners or gift wrap, which might block some of the light but not the harmful inferred light.
- Colander – This kitchen item is the simplest way to view an eclipse. Stand with the Sun to your back, hold the colander in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. Hold the colander between the Sun and the paper and the colander acts as pinhole cameras, projecting onto the paper.
- Pinhole viewer – You'll need two pieces of paper or card. Make a pinhole in one piece of card, about 2-4mm wide, and hold it about a metre away from the other piece of card. The hole acts as a lens and will produce an image of the eclipse. Remember to line up the hole and the card to the Sun.
- Binoculars – Firstly, do not look through the binoculars at the Sun. Instead, use the binoculars like a pinhole viewer. You just need to line up the binoculars to the Sun and a piece of card or paper. You might need to move the binoculars closer or further away from the paper to get a good focus.