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Monday, 3 January 2011


BAA electronic bulletin
BAA e-bulletin, 2011 Jan. 02

As the Sun rises, shortly after 08:00 UT this Tuesday morning, on 4 January,
a partial eclipse of the Sun will be visible right across the British Isles,
weather permitting of course. This eclipse will also be observable across
much of Europe, North Africa and central Asia.

The eclipse magnitude (the percentage of the Sun's diameter that will be
obscured) from European cities such as Madrid (58 per cent), Paris (73 per
cent), London (75 per cent), and Copenhagen (83 per cent) will give early
morning risers on 4 January a great chance to view a sunrise eclipse with
interesting scenery in the foreground. The greatest magnitude will be
observed from northern Sweden at 08:51 UT where the dark disk of the Moon
will cut across 86 per cent of the solar diameter at sunrise.

In the British Isles, from locations north and west of an imaginary line
stretching roughly from the mouth of the Humber estuary down to Bournemouth,
maximum eclipse will occur with the Sun still below the horizon, so that at
sunrise the amount of the Sun which is obscured will already be decreasing.
From locations south and east of this imaginary line, including East Anglia,
London, and the South-East of England, greatest eclipse will be visible with
the Sun just above the south-eastern horizon. From eastern and south-eastern
England the eclipse magnitude (the percentage of the solar diameter
obscured) will vary between 77 per cent along the north Norfolk coast to 74
per cent at Dungeness.

From places such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester,
Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol and Plymouth, for example, observers
will miss greatest eclipse, but will still be able to witness a substantial
partial eclipse at sunrise, with a magnitude ranging from 59 per cent in
Edinburgh (sunrise 08:43 UT) to 69 per cent in Liverpool (sunrise 08:27m UT)
and Plymouth (sunrise 08:16 UT).

Observers should go out a short time before sunrise and, if they have a
clear, unobstructed south-eastern horizon, they will see the Sun rise
partially eclipsed. It will look like "a broad yellow smile". From much of
the British Isles, maximum eclipse occurs before sunrise, so the amount of
the Sun which is obscured will decrease steadily from sunrise until the
partial eclipse ends at around 09:30 UT.

From London, sunrise is at 08:05 UT with maximum eclipse occurring just
seven minutes later at 08:12 UT, when 75 per cent of the solar diameter will
be obscured. The table below lists the times of sunrise and the
circumstances of the partial eclipse for several locations in the UK:

Location Sunrise (UT) Max. Eclipse (UT) Eclipse Ends

Brighton 08:03 08:10 09:30
London 08:05 08:12 09:31
Portsmouth 08:06 08:10 09:28
Bristol 08:15 - 09:27
Cardiff 08:18 - 09:27
Birmingham 08:18 - 09:30
Leeds 08:23 - 09:32
Liverpool 08:27 - 09:30
Newcastle-upon-Tyne 08:30 - 09:34
Edinburgh 08:43 - 09:34
Glasgow 08:47 - 09:33

(Note that apart from the first three locations listed, maximum eclipse
occurs before sunrise.)

Clearly with the Sun very low over the south-eastern horizon, even from
locations near London and along the coasts of East Anglia and the
South-East, it will be a difficult but interesting event to observe. One can
only hope that the clouds keep away that winter morning!

WARNING: Viewing the Sun at any time requires adequate eye protection such as that provided by special filters made for safe solar viewing, or by
indirect viewing methods such as pinhole projection, but DO supervise
children closely at all times.

Further information on this Tuesday morning's solar eclipse may be found at:

There will be four partial solar eclipses in 2011: on 4 January, 1 June, 1
July and 25 November, but only the first of these is visible from the
British Isles.

The BAA Solar Section will be pleased to receive observations of the partial
solar eclipse. See the Section's webpage at for more details.

John Mason
BAA Press and Publicity Officer

51 Orchard Way, Barnham, West Sussex PO22 0HX
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(c) 2010 British Astronomical Association

Good Clear Skies
Colin James Watling
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)

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