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How to watch rare solar eclipse in Inverness this evening

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Representation of a partial solar eclipse.
Representation of a partial solar eclipse.

The perfect alignment of Earth, the sun and the moon will be seen later - meaning people in Inverness will experience a partial solar eclipse, while it will plunge much of North America into darkness.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun, blocking some or all of the Sun's rays from reaching the Earth.

The phenomenon is a cosmic event, requiring the Sun, the Moon and the Earth to be in just the right alignment for the Moon to cast a shadow on our planet.

When this happens, the Moon casts two types of shadows.

Inverness is expected to see a partial solar eclipse, which covers only part of the Sun.

The other - and the more spectacular - is called a total solar eclipse, in which the Sun's disc is entirely covered by the Moon, save for a delicate halo of scattered light coming from our star's outer atmosphere.

The next total solar eclipse in the UK isn’t due for another 57 years.

The partial eclipse is expected to start in Inverness at 7.53pm this evening, and is set to last a total of 19 minutes. The maximum eclipse will be at 8.09pm, just before the sun sets at 8.13pm.

To protect your eyes when watching the solar eclipse, the old advice of never looking directly at the Sun still applies - you should not stare at the eclipse directly.

However, for this occasion experts have recommended using solar eclipse glasses, which have a special filter that blocks damaging UV rays. These glasses are different from sunglasses, as they block all light entirely except that coming from the Sun.

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