Partial Solar Eclipse

A partial eclipse of the Sun will occur at sunrise on Tuesday, 4th January 2011, the first of four partial solar eclipses visible from somewhere on Earth in 2011. This first eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, North America, northern Africa and western Asia. The greatest magnitude of the eclipse will be 0.86 from Sweden, that is, 86% of the Sun's diameter will be obscured by the Moon at the maximum phase of the eclipse.

For Northern Ireland viewers about 42% of the Sun's diameter will be obscured by the Moon when the Sun is fully above the southeastern horizon. The eclipse will be in progress at sunrise (about 8.45 a.m.) and will end at about 9.29 a.m.

This eclipse will provide a good photo opportunity for those wishing to obtain a permanent record of the event, as the Sun will be low in the sky and foreground terrestrial landscapes can be included in the images.

Special health and safety precautions are always necessary when viewing a solar eclipse. One should never look directly at the Sun, even with the naked eye, without a special filter otherwise permanent eye damage can result. Excellent results can be obtained by projecting the Sun's image, through binoculars or a telescope, onto a white screen.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; jmfat

Last Revised: 2011 January 3rd