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Solar Eclipse. Friday 20th March

Solar eclipse Friday 20th March

Friday 20th March will see Wednesfield plunged into semi darkness as the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun in a Solar eclipse.

The Eclipse is due to start at 8:25 AM and last until 10:41 AM – while we wont see a total eclipse in WV11, the partial eclipse we will experience will cover more than two thirds of the suns surface and leave us in an eerie twilight.

Never look directly at the Eclipse

During the Eclipse it is dangerous to stare directly at the sun: This website probably explains it best as:

Never view the sun with the naked eye or with any optical device, such as binoculars or a telescope!

This is more than advice. Why? As a kid, did you ever take a magnifying glass out into the sun and burn leaves? If so, you probably remember that when the focused sunlight coming through the lens was refracted and concentrated to a small spot, the energy available there was truly remarkable. Guess what? You have a lens just like that in your eye. If you look at the sun, your eye-lens will concentrate the sun’s light and focus it to a very small spot on the back of your retina. This can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Additionally, there are no pain sensors back there so you won’t even know it’s happening! Have I scared the willies out of you? Good!

Safe Viewing

There are however several safe ways of viewing the Eclipse. Our favourite (because it’s the simplest) is the Basic Pinhole Projector, Similar concept to a Pinhole camera and it’s easy to do

PinHole Projector


You will need:

  • Two sheets of plain white paper – the kinds you use for printing are perfect.
  • Or, two pieces of stiff white paper or white cardboard.
  • A sharp pin.

What to do:

  1. To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a very small hole in the middle of it using a pin . Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.
  2. Hold this piece of paper in front of the Sun. Remember, do not look at the Sun directly!
  3. The second sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance so that an inverted image of the Sun is projected on it through the pinhole.
  4. To make the image of the Sun larger, move the screen away from the pinholed sheet.

Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole or through the paper. When using this kind of projector, your back must be towards the Sun.


There are other ways of safely viewing the Eclipse and you can find this one, and more on the Time and Date website


Image CC Stephen R



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