Sun exceeds shadows

A solar eclipse is set to block out nearly 90 per cent of sunlight across parts of Europe next month – and it will be the biggest event of its kind in 16 years. On 20 March, the moons orbit will see it travel in front of the sun, casting a shadow over Earth. The eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered in London – and around 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.Meanwhile, electricity system operators have warned the eclipse poses a serious risk of blackouts all over Europe as the continent increasingly relies on solar power.Scroll down for video   
 
  The path of totality for next months eclipse will travel from just beneath the Greenland peninsula, heading north into the Arctic Circle. The left-hand animation shows the totality of the 1999 eclipse. The right-hand animation shows how the shadow created by the eclipse on 20 March will travel over EuropeThe event is taking place on the morning of 20 March, and a partial eclipse will be visible across Europe, North Africa and Russia for about 90 minutes. Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands will experience a full eclipse, known as totality. Dr Steve Bell, head of the HM Nautical Almanac Office told MailOnline that Torshavn in the Faroe Islands will see two minutes and two seconds of totality. 
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And the maximum duration of totality will be two minutes 47 seconds at a point 186 miles (300km) to the east of Iceland in the Norwegian Sea.In London, the partial eclipse – when the moon starts touching the suns edge – will start at 8.45am GMT. The maximum eclipse will hit at 9.31am and this will be the point when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun.By 10.41am the moon will leave the suns edge and the partial eclipse will end. 
The solar eclipse is set to block out nearly 90 per cent of sunlight across parts of Europe next month. On the morning of the 20 March the moons orbit will see it travel in front of the sun casting a shadow over Earth – and the eclipse will be the biggest event of its kind since 11 August 1999 (pictured over Germany)
The eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered in London and around 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. A partial eclipse will be visible across Europe, North Africa and Russia for about 90 minutes. Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands will experience a full eclipse for two-and-a-half minutes
This animation is designed to appear from the point of view of the eclipse as it will occur on March 20. It shows the shadow being cast over the UK, Greenland, Europe and into RussiaThe path of totality of next months eclipse travels from just beneath the Greenland peninsula, heading north into the Arctic Circle. Totality is the path the full shadow travels across the surface of the Earth, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of miles wide.Dr Bell added: The path of totality lies well to the northwest of the UK making landfall over the Faroe Islands and Svalbard as totality moves towards the North Pole.The UK will see this eclipse as a deep partial eclipse.The place that sees the deepest partial eclipse of the sun in the UK is the west coast of the Isle of Lewis close to Aird Uig. Here 98 per cent of the sun will be obscured at mid-eclipse at around 9:36am GMT. Skies will darken for any location where the maximum obscuration exceeds 95 per cent which includes north-western Scotland, the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland Islands. WHAT IS A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE? 
A total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moons shadow when it hits Earth. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line. The totality of the 11 August 1999 eclipse is shownAn eclipse occurs when one heavenly body, such as a moon or planet, moves into the shadow of another. On Earth there are two types – lunar eclipses and solar eclipses.Lunar eclipse: For a lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the sun and the moon and blocks sunlight normally reflected by the moon. Instead of light hitting the moon’s surface, Earths shadow falls on it and a lunar eclipse can only happen when the moon is full. Solar eclipse: By comparison, a solar eclipse occurs when the orbit of the moon moves it between the sun and Earth. 
A solar eclipse occurs when the orbit of the moon moves it between the sun and Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun reaching Earth and the moon casts a shadow on Earth. Types of shadow: During a solar eclipse, the moon casts two shadows on Earth.The first shadow is called the umbra, and this gets smaller as it reaches Earth.The second shadow is known as the penumbra, and this gets larger as it reaches Earth. There are additionally three types of solar eclipses:Total: A total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moons shadow when it hits Earth. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line.People standing in the umbra will see a total eclipse and this will occur over the Faroe Islands on 20 March. Partial solar eclipse: This occurs when the sun, moon and Earth dont line up exactly.People standing in the penumbra will see a partial eclipse. Annular: An annular eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth. Because the moon is further from Earth, it appears smaller.  As a result, it doesnt block the entire view of the sun. The moon in front of the sun resembles a dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk and creates what looks like a ring around the moon. Source: Nasa  . They were designed by the HM Nautical Almanac Office and reveal the time of the events and altitudes This could mean that transmission networks will have to cope with sharp drops and sudden surges in capacity as the eclipse takes place in the early hours of 20 March. HOW TO WATCH THE ECLIPSE Projection: Place a pinhole or small opening in a card, and hold it between the sun and a screen – giant sheet of white paper works – a few feet away.Filters: The sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver on the surfaces.Telescopes with solar filters: There are sun-specific telescopes available for sale – or perhaps through a local astronomy club – that are also safe for viewing a partial eclipse.  Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures, European grid company lobby ENTSO-E said.Under a clear morning sky on 20 March, some 35,000 megawatts of solar energy, which is the equivalent of nearly 80 medium size conventional generation units, will gradually fade from Europes electrical system before being gradually re-injected: all in the space of two hours.The organisation, which represents 41 electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) from 34 countries across Europe, added that the eclipse poses an unprecedented challenge for grids. Continental Europe overall has 87 GW of solar capacity, mainly in Germany, Italy and France.German solar capacity alone has risen from just a few hundred MW in 2003, when the region last witnessed a major eclipse, to 38,200 MW now. 
The spread of huge solar arrays across the EU means that more than 10 per cent of the continent’s electricity now comes from solar panels. With power supply so reliant on the sun’s rays, the solar eclipse on 20 March might lead to blackouts. Experts have warned the eclipse poses ‘an unprecedented test for Europe’s system’Under German renewable laws, solar power takes priority when being fed into the grid to reach consumers.Germanys four high-voltage power firms, in the heart of Europe, said separately they had commissioned studies on likely scenarios and are currently preparing for an 82 percent loss of sunshine between 08.30am and 11am on the day. The eclipse in 1999 saw no great impact on solar power because the industry was still in its infancy.   …AND THE ECLIPSE COULD CAUSE POWER BLACKOUTS The eclipse next month could disrupt solar power supplies across Europe, energy experts have warned.The spread of huge solar arrays across the EU means that more than 10 per cent of the continent’s electricity now comes from solar panels.With power supply so reliant on the sun’s rays, the solar eclipse on 20 March might lead to blackouts.Electricity system operators have warned that the eclipse poses ‘an unprecedented test for Europe’s electricity system’.The European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity, a group of power supply organisations, said: ‘The risk of incident cannot be completely ruled out.‘Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.’The organisation said it had been planning so-called ‘countermeasures’ for months, with suppliers across Europe set to help balance the load with more energy from other power stations as solar electricity drops off.  The eclipse is not expected to cause blackouts in Britain because so little of our power comes from solar power.Despite a boom in British solar arrays in recent years, particularly in southern England, solar power today provides just 1.5 per cent of our electricity needs.The National Grid said it expected solar power output in Britain to halve from an average March figure of 3,000 megawatts to 1,700 megawatts. 
Read more:
NASA Eclipse Web Site
Total Eclipse of the Sun: 2015 March 20

Make secure but order

So when would have been a good time for Aston Villa to play West Bromwich Albion? How about six? In the morning, obviously.The Friday night drunks would have slept it off and the Saturday session boys couldn’t yet have got going. Perfect. Obviously, there would have been some inconvenience for those who just want to watch a football match, rather than get tanked up and chin a police horse, or Callum McManaman.But since when did they matter? 
Police clashed with supporters on the pitch after Aston Villas FA Cup clash with local rivals West Brom
Trouble flared before, during and after the FA Cup showdown as Aston Villa secured their place at Wembley
West Brom midfielder Callum McManaman is helped off the field following the full-time whistle and invasionThe reason police are in city centres at chucking-out time, we imagine, is to uphold law and order. And why do we need law and order? To protect the millions of citizens who wish to lead their lives in a peaceable way.‘The police are for the protection of ordinary people,’ exclaims the God-fearing McLeavy, in Joe Orton’s Loot. Inspector Truscott views him coldly. ‘I don’t know where you pick up these slogans, sir,’ he says. ‘You must read them on hoardings.’A law-abiding football supporter will recognise that sentiment. Forever herded, segregated and inconvenienced, unable to even have a drink with his mates at the game — where are the people who are meant to protect his rights?They are part of the problem — forever whinging about their part of the deal, their hardship, their costs, their pressures. An FA Cup replay, of even minor status, takes close to two weeks to make secure in this country yet, in America, baseball’s World Series can take place at two days’ notice.In 2009, the New York Yankees made the final on the Sunday night, and hosted the first match of the Series against Philadelphia that Tuesday. And don’t kid yourselves there are no away fans: those cities are less than a two-hour drive apart. Previous
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The school dealers they

A primary school headteacher has banned pupils from watching this Fridays solar eclipse on health and safety grounds.In a letter sent to parents, Paul Rooke claimed New Machar school in Aberdeenshire would not take risks around pupil safety and wellbeing during this Fridays rare cosmic event.Parents have spoken out about the overzealous measures, suggesting the children should be given the chance to see the phenomenon – but the school says the protective glasses are not suitable for children under ten.
Ban: New Machar school in Aberdeenshire, above, will not allow children to watch the eclipse on FridayIn Mr Rookes letter, he wrote: It is with disappointment that I need to advise you that we will no longer be purchasing the solar eclipse glasses and viewing the eclipse as a school.This is after further careful consideration of the health and safety advice, alongside guidance from Aberdeenshire Councils Health and Safety colleagues.Clearly the school will never take any risks around pupil safety and wellbeing. I do hope you understand my decision.
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Staring directly at an eclipse carries the risk of permanent damage or even blindness unless specialist lenses or devices are used.Although the moon is expected to block out 98 per cent of the suns light, even staring at the remainder of it for too long can cause irreparable damage to the eye.Mr Rooke referred to an online report which suggested the protective glasses may be too big to be worn securely by children, and that children under ten should only watch the eclipse on TV or with an indirect viewer.
The partial solar eclipse is due to take place at 8.45am on Friday, March 20, and will be visible for thousands of kilometres Parents of the pupils at Newmachar Primary in Aberdeenshire said they were disappointed they would miss out on witnessing the phenomenon, which will not reoccur in Britain until 2026.One parent, Euan Pittendreigh, said: It just seems like a little bit too much political correctness.I understand that its for the kids safety, but if the glasses fit my kids correctly Id let them see it.Another father, Derek Mathers, added: Its a shame. My daughter Kirsty was looking forward to seeing the eclipse, but the school has got to put safety first really.Maria Walker, Aberdeenshire Councils director of education and childrens services, said: Schools will decide individually on activities to watch the eclipse and will do so safely. THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF 1999  The last solar eclipse of a similar size took place on 11 August 1999 and had an eclipse magnitude of 1.029.An eclipse magnitude is the fraction of the suns diameter obscured by the moon. It is based on a ratio of diameters and differs from an eclipse obscuration, which is a measure of the suns surface area covered by the moon. The value given is taken at the moment when the eclipse is at is maximum.  The maximum of two minutes and 23 seconds of totality for the 1999 eclipse occurred close to Ramnicu Valcea in Romania.It was said to have been the first total eclipse visible in Europe since 22 July 1990, and the first visible in the UK since 29 June 1927.   Local councillor Fergus Hood added: Some might say this is health and safety gone mad but I think the school is doing the right thing to protect the childrens eyesight. New Machar is not the first school to make the ruling. Whitchurch Primary School in Cardiff said it will not let children watch the natural display outside, even if they have bought special glasses with solar filters.Instead, the primary school will show the eclipse on a live feed inside the school premises. The decision came following an email which was reportedly sent to the schools by Cardiff Council.The memo advised schools to read a leaflet from the Royal Astronomical Society on how to observe an eclipse safely. The partial solar eclipse is due to take place at 8.45am on Friday, March 20, and will be visible for thousands of kilometres. It will be the first time that the astronomical spectacle has occurred during rush-hour in the UK, and there are fears that motorists may take their eyes off the wheel to watch the cosmic alignment.Experts have warned that drivers may be dazzled as they watch the sun or risk a crash simply by letting their concentration falter.The proportion of sun covered by the moon during the near-total solar eclipse will be higher in the north of the UK, so while there be an 84 per cent eclipse in London, Manchester will see an 89 per cent eclipse and 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.The most complete eclipse in the UK will be see from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.Timeings will vary, so that in London, the partial eclipse – when the moon starts touching the suns edge – will begin at 8.24am.The eclipse will peak at 9.31am and this will be the point when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun.By 10.41am, the moon will leave the suns edge and the partial eclipse will end. 
Solar eclipse hits the United Kingdom in August 1999
OBSERVING THE ECLIPSE: HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN VIEWING THE SUN  Astronomer Gemma Lavender from All About Space magazineDo you need special equipment to look at the eclipse? Its all too easy to look at the sun when an eclipse is happening, but you should never look at the eclipse with naked eyes, binoculars or a telescope without filters – otherwise you run the risk of permanently damaging your eyesight.Thats not to say that you cant watch the eclipse on Friday – but you should ensure that you have the right equipment that will provide you with the right amount of protection.
Many people buy solar glasses or viewers to watch the eclipse – they can be bought quite cheaply from telescope dealersDedicated telescopes such as solar telescopes can allow you to observe the eclipse with absolutely no risk. However, unless you already own one, know somebody who does or are looking to get into solar astronomy, they can be a massive investment of several hundred pounds.There are cheaper ways to observe the eclipse, though.Are solar glasses fine to use?Many people buy solar glasses or viewers to watch the eclipse. These can be bought quite cheaply from telescope dealers.They work by employing a Mylar film that blocks out over 99 per cent of the suns light, allowing you to view the eclipse safely.Before using them though, you should make sure that they are not damaged in any way and you should ensure that you have bought them from a reputable dealer. If youre in doubt, dont use your viewers at all.