A smiley solar eclipse will appear on Friday 20th March 2015 at between 8 and 9am GMT across North West Europe. The eclipse’s smiley face will be due to it being a partial eclipse, meaning only 80 to 95% of the sun will be covered by the moon. The remaining visible portion of the sun will appear as a crescent shape or a smiley.
Solar eclipse occur when the moon passes directly across the face of the sun. The moon is tiny compared to the sun, around 400 times smaller. Because the moon is also coincidentally 400 times closer to us than the sun they appear almost exactly the same size in the sky when viewed from earth. During an eclipse the moon covers the disc of the sun leaving us with only the corona or outer ring of the sun visible. It is a nothing but a fortunate stroke of luck that blesses us with the rare spectacle.
Speaking of spectacles, it is advised that you protect your eyes if you plan to look directly at the eclipse. Sun glasses are not good enough, you’ll need proper eclipse viewing glasses or home made specs made up with a black polymer solar filter covering the lenses.
Hopefully your view of the smiley eclipse won’t be obscured by the clouds where you are. If it is you’ll still experience an eerie feeling as the day turns to darkness for those few minutes while the eclipse is in full effect.
Nature could not pick a better day to display a giant smiley solar eclipse as today is in fact International Day of Happiness. Now if that’s not a good sign I don’t know what is 🙂