Astronomy madness swept the nation last Thursday due to the last solar eclipse visible from the UK until 2026. Our previous head of Outreach and PR, Hannah Wakeford, hosted a special episode of the Science Hour on Xpression FM and organised an amazing viewing event to celebrate the occasion. We couldn’t resist going along.
For anyone who is unfamiliar, a solar eclipse is caused by the Moon passing directly between the Earth and the Sun, causing a part, or the entirety if you’re in the right place, of the Sun to be blocked from view. Although the Moon is 400.3 times smaller than the Sun, it’s 414.3 times closer; effectively completely cancelling the size difference. From our vantage point in Exeter, we could observe the eclipse to nearly 86% totality. This means that 86% of the disk of the Sun was obscured by the Moon.
The clouds were a little thick at first, but we were soon able to see the Sun peeking through the thick mist. A member of our science team, Ben Sutlieff, was there with his solar telescope, ready to let people take a look at the event as it was meant to be seen.
I think everyone would agree that the event was a huge success. Massive thanks to Hannah for organising and the rest of the University of Exeter’s astrophysics group for their invaluable help.
by Sam Morrell – Science, Outreach and Press and Publicity teams.