Image a dark moon eclipsing a yellow ball that is the sun

Safe Ways of Watching the Solar Eclipse on the 20th of March 2015


Solar eclipses happen once in a lifetime or quite rarely. Some people never get to see one in their lifetime. The last one occurred in 1999. With the solar eclipse predicted on the 20th of March 2015, chances are you might want to take a selfie for posterity and share it with your friends, family and followers and pets and whoever is interested.

It may sound exciting to catch this rare phenomena on camera to prove you actually saw it. But hear this: experts are ringing the alarm bells and when those in the know speak, at least take precautions. They say the risk of taking a selfie can damage your eyes.

It sounds like the experts are raining on your parade, innit? So how are you supposed to view this phenomena? Here are a few tips we gathered from the experts:


  • Use the pinhole method. I don’t know if you remember your science classes where you made a hole in a piece of cardboard, then held it up with your back to the sun and let the sun’s image project onto another piece of card or paper. It doesn’t sound like much fun but hey, your eyes will be safe or at least, that’s what the experts say. As they say, better safe than sorry.
  • An animation illustrating how to use the pinhole method of viewing an eclipse by using a hole in a cardboard to project onto another piece of paper or cardboard.

    Picture copyright H.L. Cohen. Source:

  • Well, if that doesn’t sound like fun, then there is a better way to go about it and still be safe, you know what I mean. Get sunglasses, you know, with solar filters specifically designed for watching a solar eclipse. They come with the relevant CE mark. Make sure you ask for the right ones if you intend to enjoy this phenomena without damaging your eyes. It might cost you a few quid or Benjamin’s but the price compared to damaging your eyes is minimal.


  • It sounds pretty obvious, but common sense isn’t so common it should be called uncommon sense, so, don’t stare or look directly at the sun. That means even if you have sunglasses on, unless they are specifically designed for that purpose and bear the correct CE mark, because they don’t provide adequate protection.
  • Don’t use a pair of binoculars, a telescope, any camera [camcorder, SLR, smartphone, etc]. It is not worth the risk. The sun’s radiation is so strong it may cause a solar burn of the retina experts warn.

Now, that you know how to watch the solar eclipse safely, you may want to know what time to watch this solar eclipse.

If you are in and around the London area, watch for it between 08:24hrs and 10:41hrs.

For those of you in and around Edinburgh, keep your eyes peeled, not literally, from about 08:30hrs till 09:35hrs.
What is an eclipse? It is one of those rare moments when the earth suffers a blackout because the moon comes in between the earth and the sun and plunges the UK and other places into darkness. It may not be on the magnitude that we have heard of in Biblical narratives such as when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross but it won’t be that dramatic but it will still be noticeable.
An image showing the moon in between the sun and the moon resulting in an eclipse.

Picture source:

Remember if it is too much hassle building a pinhole projector or buying sunglasses to watch the solar eclipse on the 20th of March 2015, kick your feet up, grab some orange juice and a snack and let others do the hard work and watch it on TV or find a webcast broadcasting this phenomena. I know I will.

Enjoy this rare Friday where you have 3 celestial events taking place in one day; i.e. a solar eclipse, supermoon and spring equinox. That is like three in one. None of the supermarket chains serves up such great bargains like Mother Earth. Enjoy this rare occasion and what a fitting topic for our first blog on WordPress.


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