The first and only total solar eclipse of 2015 crosses the far-northern reaches of the north Atlantic Ocean on the morning of March 20. Lucky observers on the Faroe Islands and few northern island outposts can see the total eclipse for themselves, and most of Europe can see at least a partial solar eclipse. If you can’t catch a last-minute flight to see this total solar eclipse for yourself, Slooh has you covered. We’re broadcasting the eclipse live with Paul Cox and Bob Berman from the Faroe Islands with live images and commentary as the event unfolds, starting at 4:30am EDT/1:30am PDT/08:30 UTC.
This solar eclipse, the first in more than a year, reaches all the way to the top of the world. The darkest part of the Moon’s shadow, the umbra, which marks the path of totality, touches down at 9:13 UT on March 20 just about 700 km south of Greenland. It arcs in a large backward C-shape moving eastward just south of Iceland. Then it turns north over water and a few small islands before ending at the North Pole at 10:21 UT.
During this eclipse the Moon’s shadow falls on Earth at an oblique angle, so the viewing area is unusually wide at about 462 km. Still, in this remote part of the world, it passes across very little land. The Faroe Islands, where Slooh will set up to broadcast, enjoys the first landfall of the eclipse. In the capital Torshavn, the total eclipse starts at 9:41 UT and lasts two minutes. The Moon’s umbral shadow then passes over more water and reaches the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard at about 10:11 UT.
The eclipse occurs about 15 hours before the March equinox as the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving north. So an observer at the North Pole, where the solar eclipse ends, would see an extraordinary sight: an eclipsed Sun just emerging above the horizon for the first time in six months.
While the total solar eclipse of March 20 will pass across one of the least populated parts of the Earth, the partial shadow of the Moon– the penumbra– will also fall at a steep angle across a huge land area that includes all of Europe, most of Russia, as well as North Africa and the Middle East. Observers in these regions will see a partial solar eclipse.
The further north, the more of the Sun’s face will be covered during the eclipse. Reykjavik, for example, will see see 98% totality. London will see 84% of the Sun’s face covered by the Moon at 9:37 UT. Paris will see 78% totality at 10:29 local time. Even Cairo will see the Moon nick about 6% of the Sun’s face.
If you fall along the path of this extraordinary solar eclipse, you can see it for yourself using protective eyewear or properly filtered telescopes. And make sure you join Slooh our live broadcast of the event from the Faroe Islands, where Paul Cox will be on the ground, bringing you live views of the eclipse as it gradually, grandiosely unfolds.