Friday, March 20, 2015

Solar eclipse coming to Europe in few hours

If you're somewhere in Europe, expect the partial solar eclipse sometime between 9 am (the Moon will first bite into the "2 o'clock" place of the solar disk) and noon local time (the Moon will leave the Sun at the place "9 o'clock" or so). For example, Czechia will see the eclipse to peak around 10:47 am Prague Winter Time when about 75% of the area of the solar disk will be hidden by the Moon (France will peak at 80% etc.) and the remaining Sun will be U-shaped (the shadow will be close to "noon" of the solar disk).
A babe explains the solar eclipse in 2 minutes
We the Europeans won't see a solar eclipse that is this strong until 2026. Today's eclipse is rather intense because we also have the Supermoon on the same day – a coincidence. The sky looks completely clear or sunny so we should be lucky today.

Today's solar eclipse will also be a total one in a thin strip going mostly through the Atlantic ocean, on the Eastern side from the Greenland and then towards the North Pole (a coincidence).

Tonight, we will welcome spring equinox (the beginning of astronomical spring), too. It is another coincidence (a freaky Friday, indeed) that today, the solar eclipse takes place on the day of the equinox. However, it is not a coincidence that we have to have "new moon" just like today (the Moon looks like nothing at night) when solar eclipse is occurring.

Be careful about your eyes. Obviously, looking to the Sun with your naked eyes for several seconds may be very bad for your retina. I believe that if you place four pairs of sunglasses (the hands may be broken) on top of each other and narrow your eyes at the same moment, you should be OK for a second or two. You don't have to become a welder to watch the solar eclipse, I think.

I told you to be careful about your retinas. There is another thing you must be careful about: the cuddly, weak, vulnerable, white victims of global warming... OK, I mean the godless killing machines called the polar bears. Czech guy Mr Jakub [James] Moravec (37) went to Svalbard to see the total eclipse and this completely innocent man was brutally taken out of his tent and injured by a polar bear.

You may agree that the polar bears are unfair and counterproductive. If they were fair, they would have attacked and neutralized notorious crackpot Peter Shmoit who is at Svalbard, too. has an interview with the injured guy in the hospital. He was in his sleeping bag at 5:30 am when the animal torn the zipper, entered and, wanted Moravec's head. People from other tents have distracted the bear by shooting at him. Poor polar bear, someone told me. It was a smaller polar bear; if it were a standard size polar bear, Moravec adds, it could have been difficult for Moravec to act as a worthy opponent in the wrestling match.

Some appropriate message to the polar bears may be heard between 2:57 and 3:14 of this music video. The original version of this song was recorded by Barenaked Ladies, as I only learned recently, the same men who are behind the theme song for The Big Bang Theory sitcom.

P.S.: If you have missed the event, here is the 3-hour-long video from Capenhagen, Northwestern Czechia: enjoy! ;-)


  1. I wonder how well areas with a lot of solar will handle having to ramp up and then down their fossil fuel plants. I suspect the efficiency of those plants must be terrible when cycling like that.

  2. Haha, a good point.

    It's also a question whether such events influence temperatures - they surely do so on temporary basis. It's colder during the eclipse. But is this decrease going to be forgotten by tomorrow? I am not so sure. There is probably some time scale by which such perturbations are being erased, and it may be longer than a day.

  3. I'm glad it's over. It was very dark here in Dublin at 9:29am. The sun was covered 91%. The great thing is that we had just a nice veil of cloud so we could watch the eclipse with no glasses... Although I have a yellow glow following me everywhere now :-)

  4. Great view from here too. I scrunched my thumb and forefinger to leave a tiny hole - seemed to work well. I was intrigued a total eclipse can be seen at the North Pole, seeing as the Moon orbit is sort-of-equatorial, so I learned something as well as enjoyed the view

  5. Thanks for your report. I had 4 pairs of sunglasses. My personal banker had a better material - the interior foil disk from a floppy disk. ;-) Fellow Pilsner folks on the street were giving me their special eclipse sunglasses, so I was the worst equipped observer LOL but it didn't matter.

  6. In the late 1960s I watched a total solar eclipse from a beach on Cape Cod. Totality was a mile or two out in the ocean, but I was close enough that my experience bears on the question of looking at it. With no eye protection I glanced at it a number of times, less than 1 second each time. There was no ill effect that I'm aware of.

    Aside from that, I thought the eclipse was scary. I understood how primitive people could be very frightened by it. I could see the moon as a sphere, so I became aware of being in space - an infinitely large dark room.

    A man standing near me had a German Shepherd that whined and buried its face in the sand when it saw what was happening.

  7. Viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can fry your retina (macula!) with infrared radiation. One simple fix is a pair of binoculars and a white board or piece of paper. Binoculars project a real image. Look at the paper, not through the binoculars.

  8. I thought the trouble was from ultraviolet.

  9. If the alarmists can say that global warming causes earthquakes, we can say that eclipses are a negative feedback. :-)