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Friday - Supermoon, Spring Equinox and Solar Eclipse

Deep partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20th March Photo: MET OFFICE

There's a lot going on this Friday - a Super New Moon, the Spring Equinox and a Solar Eclipse all coming together during the morning of 20th March.

Total Solar Eclipse?

On Friday 20th March 2015 a total solar eclipse will occur across the Arctic and in the far Northern Atlantic. For us in the UK we will experience this as a deep partial eclipse, similar to the image above. This will be one of the best deep partial eclipses visible from the UK since August 1999, and there wont be another for over a decade.

A solar eclipse is when the sun is obscured by the moon. If it is completely obscured then it is known as a total solar eclipse.

The northern half of the UK will experience a deep partial eclipse with between 80% and 95% of the Sun covered.

For us in the northwest (using Manchester as an example) the partial eclipse will start at 8.27am with the maximum eclipse at 9.32, before ending at 10.42 - when the moon will completely move away from in front of the sun, thus ending the partial eclipse.

Diagram of Solar Eclipse (www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/uk/manchester) Credit: www.timeanddate.com

Will the weather allow us to see it?

It goes without saying that we need a view of the sun unobscured by cloud, a big ask in England in March!

At the moment it's looking like quite a cloudy start to Friday with the chance of some showers. A northwesterly airflow will bring breezier conditions and this should hopefully allow cloud to break at times. The best place for the best northwest view at this stage is around the Morecambe Bay area.

The UK will see between 80 and 95% of the eclipse this March 2015 Credit: MET OFFICE

A rare sight

This year's Eclipse is something quite special. There will also be a Supermoon (new and not full) the night before the eclipse, meaning the Earth and Moon are as close together as they can be.

This makes this year's Spring Equinox eclipse a 'Supermoon Eclipse' - meaning a supermoon, equinox and eclipse will all fall on the same day.

When is the next one?

For Northwest England we have to wait until 2021 for the next partial solar eclipse. The next total solar eclipse visible for our part of the World will be on 14th June 2151.....yes, 135 years away.....put it in your diary!!