Don’t miss the Solar Eclipse on Friday 20 March

On Friday 20 March 2015 the Earth will be witness of a solar eclipse, one of the most impressive astronomical phenomena.

Red cover the area where the total eclipse can be seen. Different hues of orange marks regions where the partial eclipse can be observed, on areas where the orange is stronger there will be more percentage of the Sun covered compared to the lighter ones. The eclipse cannot be seen in regions in white. Credit: timeanddate.com
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Red cover the area where the total eclipse can be seen. Different hues of orange marks regions where the partial eclipse can be observed, on areas where the orange is stronger there will be more percentage of the Sun covered compared to the lighter ones. The eclipse cannot be seen in regions in white. Credit: timeanddate.com

The solar eclipse will be visible only in a small part of the world: the total eclipse can only be observed on northern regions of Europe (red region on the image), the Faroe Islands and Svalbard Islands (Norway). However, a partial eclipse can be observed across Europe, northern Africa, some parts of Asia and a small region of northern America (orange regions on the image). The eclipse starts at 7:41 UTC and ends at 11:50 UTC. The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 47 seconds off the coast of the Faroe Islands at 9:46 UTC. To find out the local eclipse times in your area please visit this website.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. The eclipse is total when the Moon completely covers the Sun, as seen from Earth. The totality can only be seen on a small area of Earth. Areas off this track may be able to see a partial eclipse, which happens when the Earth, Moon and the Sun don’t align in a perfectly straight line and the disc of the Sun is only partially covered by the Moon. Solar eclipses have always fascinated the human beings from ancient civilizations that believed they were sign of bad omens to our modern society that have used them to know more about the Sun. Interestingly, a solar eclipse in 1919 was used to experimentally test for the first time Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which celebrates its 100th anniversary during the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). You can read more about it on the IYL 2015 blog.

If the weather doesn’t allow you to observe the solar eclipse or you live outside the eclipse range, you can watch it live online on Slooh.com or gloria-project.eu.

There are many IYL 2015 events associated to the solar eclipse in different countries. Check our event programme to find out where they will be held. And don’t forget to share your experience and pictures of the activities with us on Twitter and Facebook by using the #IYL2015 hashtag.

Remember to be very careful when viewing the eclipse. Never look directly at the Sun without special protection, because it can result in permanent eye damage.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the lightsources.org International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.

Contacts

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015
president@eps.org

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015
light2015@ictp.it