On Friday 20 March, an incredibly rare Solar Eclipse will occur across Northern Europe and the Arctic – and Coats Observatory will mark this amazing celestial phenomenon with a free event for local people keen to see it.
A Solar Eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, temporarily blocking out all or part of our view of the Sun. On 20 March the Eclipse will begin at approximately 8.30am and end at 10.45am, peaking around 9.30am. Above Paisley, the Moon will cover just over 90% of the Sun and it will become noticeably darker for a short while – more like twilight than full night.
At Coats Observatory there will be four telescopes dedicated to watching the eclipse, plus there will be special eclipse glasses available, allowing visitors to safely view this rare astronomical event as it unfolds. Staff from Coats Observatory will also be on hand to answer any eclipse questions visitors may have.
The Eclipse event will run 8.30am – 10.45am at Coats Observatory and admission is free.
In the event of clouds or inclement weather, we will run a ‘virtual eclipse’ in the Planetarium at Coats Observatory and have a live internet feed broadcasting the Eclipse from the path of totality, which makes landfall over the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard.
Watch safely from where you are
The Eclipse can be safely viewed without the need of specialist equipment. A very basic pinhole projector can be made by taking two pieces of card, piercing a small round hole with a drawing pin in one and letting the light from the Sun pass through this and fall on to the second piece of card, which acts like a screen. The further away the second card is the larger the image.
Please remember that the Sun’s rays are incredibly powerful. Never look at the Sun through unfiltered binoculars, telescope or even with the naked eye as permanent damage will be done to your eyes in a short period of time.
In the run up to the Solar Eclipse event
Dedicated Solar Viewing Sessions will take place at Coats Observatory on Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March, 2pm – 4pm, where you can make your own safe solar viewer in preparation for Friday’s eclipse. Admission to these sessions is free.
Access to Coats Observatory on Friday 20 March is via Oakshaw Street West, Paisley, PA1 2DE and the Observatory will be open from 8.30am.
Access to Coats Observatory for the Solar Viewing Sessions in the lead up to Eclipse Day will be via Paisley Museum, High St, Paisley, PA1 2BA.