Solar eclipse - live: ‘Ring of fire’ shrouds parts of UK and Europe in darkness

·3 min read

Watch the ring of fire eclipse live above. The partial eclipse in the UK is due to start at 10.08am and finish at 12.22pm with the maximum eclipse at 11.13am. Please wait a moment for the stream to load.

Swathes of the Northern Hemisphere will have the chance to experience an annular or partial eclipse of the Sun today.

An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line with the Earth, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun.

This causes the sun to appear as a very bright ring, or annulus, in a phenomenon dubbed as the “ring of fire”.

But – weather permitting – observers in the UK and Ireland on Thursday morning will see a crescent sun instead of a ring, as this will be a partial eclipse.

The phenomenon will begin at 10.08am on June 10 in the UK, with the maximum eclipse occurring at 11.13am, when the moon will cover close to one-third of the sun.

The partial eclipse will end at 12.22pm.

Views of the partial solar eclipse will be “somewhat fleeting” across certain parts of the UK due to cloudy skies.

But those in central and south-east England will have clear spells to witness the spectacle.

CHIAYI, TAIWAN - 2020/06/21: Annular solar eclipse seen from Chiayi in southern Taiwan on June 21th, 2020. The solar eclipse fully visible in some parts the world, including southern Taiwan, covered 99.4 par cent of the sun. It is the first time since 2001 that an eclipse of this type occurred on summer solstice day. (Photo by Alberto Buzzola/LightRocket via Getty Images)
An annular solar eclipse seen from Chiayi in southern Taiwan in June 2020. (Photo by Alberto Buzzola/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Met Office has said parts of the UK will see clouds covering the skies although most regions are expected to remain dry.

Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said the ‘ring of fire’ will be seen from Russia, Greenland and northern Canada.

She told PA: “From the UK, the annular solar eclipse will be a partial eclipse, meaning that we’ll only see the moon pass in front of a small part of the sun.”

Dr Drabek-Maunder said the maximum eclipse will occur at 11.13am, when the moon will cover close to one-third of the sun.

The map shows the global extent of the shadow during the eclipse. (Nasa)
The map shows the global extent of the shadow during the eclipse. (Nasa)

The partial eclipse will end at 12.22pm.

Even though a large part of the solar disc will be covered, looking at the partially eclipsed sun without appropriate protection can cause serious and permanent damage to the eyes.

Dr Drabek-Maunder said: “The eclipse from the UK will only be visible with certain techniques and optical aids.

“Never look at the sun directly or use standard sunglasses – it can cause serious harm to your eyes.”

It is also not wise not to look at the sun through binoculars, telescopes or a telephoto lens on an SLR camera.

Dr Drabek-Maunder suggests using a simple pinhole projector, solar eclipse viewing glasses – which can be purchased online – or special solar filters which can fit on telescopes, in order to observe the eclipse.

She said: “You can make a projector by poking a small hole into a piece of card.

“Hold the card up to the sun so that light shines through the hole and on to a piece of paper behind the card.

“You will be able to see the shape of the sun projected on to the piece of paper and watch its shape change as the Moon passes in front of the sun.”

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is also live-streaming the eclipse on its website and YouTube channel.