Photo of a partial solar eclipse

Solar eclipse viewers risk eye damage

Witnesses to a solar eclipse visible next week in Bournemouth and Poole are being warned to protect their eyes properly.

A large partial eclipse is anticipated to block the sun at around 9.30am on Friday 20th March. It is a rare event that should be visible across the UK.

Bob Mizon from the Wessex Astronomical Society said it’s essential to have adequate eye protection: “You must observe safely, only use proper eclipse viewers, don’t risk your eyes, you can’t get new ones.

The event is expected to attract tourists from all over the country to watch from the beach.  Shoppers in Bournemouth were excited about it.  Nicola Johnson, 28 from Christchurch said she would try to be there: “I always miss these things and that time on a Friday I’m stuck at work but I will try and go outside to see.” Stuart Berking, 31 from Wareham said he realized the importance of eye protection: “I know you can get special glasses but I’m not sure where you get them from. I wouldn’t want to look directly anyway I think.”

Although the eclipse may not totally obscure the sun from sight, experts predict the effect will be quite stunning nevertheless.  Bob Mizon said we can expect quite a spectacle: “If the clouds don’t intervene, the sun will look like a crescent lying on its side with more than 80% hidden by the moon.”  The total eclipse is only likely to be visible from the North Atlantic.


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