Some of us relish arriving at work way before everyone else and others like to be right on time.
This Friday, 20th March, I’m in the early camp.
At around 9.30am, the sun will be covered by up to 85% in London and as much as 98% if you’re up in Scotland.
There won’t be another solar eclipse in the UK until 2026!
The moon, passing over the sun, will leave a shadow on the earth roughly in the area of Scotland. Imagine that. Staggering. Don’t miss it, I say.
I’m making plans to put the kettle on for a front row seat from the Search Office Space offices in Stanmore.
Good news is there are lots of safe ways to enjoy this memorable event.
If you are a business owner or manager, why not add some cosmic dust to the office and get your hands on some goggles for your team to use. It only happens once every ten to fifteen years, so go for it. Here are some courageous ways to enjoy the show, safely.
1. Filter glasses.
You can purchase goggles that contain a strong filter that protects your precious retinas. This is the only way in which the eclipse can be viewed directly.
Filter glasses can be purchased in a number of online stores and are currently being given away with BBC Sky at Night and popular astronomy magazines.
For those who prefer to have breakfast inside:
2. Go online and watch it live.
Or for those who prefer to drink their cuppa while juggling:
3. The Holey Card
- Take two large pieces of card
- Punch a hole no bigger than 5mm in one piece of card and hold it over your shoulder in the direction of the sun.
- Use the other piece of card as a backdrop and focus the circle of light through the shoulder card onto it.
- You should be able to see the moon gradually moving across the sun.
And for those of us who like to share our brekkie with others:
- For other variants in groups or at the office, use a larger backdrop (a white wall of whiteboard will do if you have one by a convenient window!)
- For a particularly nutty variant, involving putting a box on your head, take a look here.
And for those who’d like to tweak their lipstick at the same time!
5. Using a mirror
- Take a mirror of small to medium size and a piece of card.
- Cut a small hole in the card of two to three centimetres and cover the mirror with it.
- Reflect the light from the sun into a darkened room and project onto a blank wall.
Or why not take the opportunity to start an office craze and show off your trendiest kitchen utensils while you’re at it:
6. Use a colander
- This is a variant on the pinhole, but it’s a little more aesthetically pleasing.
- Stand with your back to the sun and hold the colander with the light shining through it, onto a white backdrop (the office wall again perhaps?)
- Observe a pattern of mini solar eclipse images!
And for the intrepid outdoor types who do rock climbing and sky-diving at weekends, here’s your once in a fifteen-year chance to outshine the sun!
7. The roof
- If your office building has an open rooftop it might be worth a trip up to view the moment. Building rules permitting of course.
- High-rise buildings with glass sides provide a perfect viewing point, just make sure you’re on the East side of the building!
The moon passing over the sun… it sounds like the title of a song or a romantic movie, but on Friday, we get to add a little cosmic magic to our breakfast. Someone put the kettle on, I’m placing my order now.
Important note, DON’T look directly at it.
This may seem obvious, but the sun is bright and intense enough to burn the back of your eyes. Even when it is 85% covered. Unfortunately, sunglasses, binbags and other harsh filters won’t do either!
This also means no binoculars, telescopes, looking glasses and periscopes (if that’s what you’re into).
Be safe and enjoy.
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