The South West will see part of the sun covered by a solar eclipse this evening.

The USA will have a total eclipse but Britain will see a much smaller version with around 4% of the sun blocked by the moon.

Beginning at around 7.40pm, the partial eclipse will last until just before 8.30pm.

The weather could affect people's ability to see the eclipse clearly, with cloud forecast across much of the South West.

But crowds are still predicted in many South West cities as people watch the astronomical event.

As with any eclipse, people are being warned not to look directly at the sun.

Many people wear specially prepared glasses to safely view the eclipse. Credit: ITV West Country

The next major eclipse visible in the UK won't occur until August 12, 2026, when around 95% of the sun will be covered.

Britain will not see a total solar eclipse until September 23, 2090.

1999

Last total eclipse visible in the UK

2026

Next significant eclipse visible in the UK

2090

Next total solar eclipse visible in the UK

People often make their own projectors to view eclipses. Credit: ITV West Country

A solar eclipse takes place when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, blocking the sun from view.

The most recent eclipse visible in the UK was in 2015.

The best times to see the partial eclipse in the South West are:

  • 8.04pm Gloucester

  • 8.05pm Bristol

  • 8.05pm Weston-super-Mare

  • 8.06pm Exeter

  • 8.07pm Plymouth

  • 8.08pm Penzance

You can also use Time and Date's eclipse tracker to find out the exact eclipse timing where you live.

People who want to catch up on America's full eclipse from the West Country can follow footage from the USA on NASA's website.

The Met office are using tonight's eclipse as a way to teach people about their history.