Solar eclipse 2017: How you can watch it in the UK and when the next one will be

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A partial solar eclipse could be visible across the UK this evening as the moon appears to take a “bite” out of the sun.

The spectacle will occur just before sunset and will last roughly 40 minutes – with the peak of the eclipse happening at slightly different times across Western Europe.

But forecasters have warned that grey skies and overcast weather could prevent Brits from being able to see any of the phenomenon.

The Met Office said the drizzly weather is likely to obscure the view for most in the east, including London.

Eclipse: To see the best view of the spectacle, astrologers should try to watch it from somewhere high ip (REUTERS)

Forecaster Martin Bowles warned: “It doesn’t look very promising.”

“It is only going to be about 4 per cent of the sun which will be blotted out, so even if it is perfect weather conditions you won’t see a lot,” he added. 

“From a meteorological point of view it is not looking very good because of the cloud – most people won’t be able to see a thing.”

History of Solar Eclipses

Due to the partial eclipse occurring near sunset, there is unlikely to be an observable reduction in light, he added.

How to watch the eclipse in London and the UK

The sun will be close to the horizon from around 7.40pm UK time and the actual eclipse will be at the mid-point at 8.04pm.

In order to see the spectacle, you will need to hope the cloud clears and be in a spot with a west-northwest view of the sun. 

For your best chance, go to a high spot with an unobstructed view of the sunset.

If the cloud does not clear, Nasa is streaming the event live on its website and social media pages.

Or you could wait until the next solar eclipse in Britain – in 2026.

The movement of the travelling moon between the Earth and sun will produce a much more dramatic event in the US, where a total eclipse will turn day to night for more than two minutes.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon appears to be the same size as the sun so, as they cross over, it blocks out all the light.

This casts a shadow over the earth, causing temperatures to drop and illuminating stars and planets for a few minutes in the middle of the day.

Millions of Americans are gathering along a stretch from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the spectacle. 

It will be the first time since 1918 that a total solar eclipse will have stretched across the whole of North America, engulfing both coasts in darkness.

And experts believe it is the first solar eclipse that is exclusive to America since the country was founded in 1776.

It is expected to be the most observed and most photographed eclipse in history.

But the Royal Astronomical Society has warned anyone hoping to catch the phenomenon not to look directly at the sun with the naked eye.

Anyone viewing the spectacle should wear protective eyewear – such as eclipse glasses – which block out more than 99.9 per cent of the sun’s light.

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