20 March 2015, 8-11am, Free solar eclipse viewing in Castle Park, Bristol

Posted by John Bishop (johnbishop) on Feb 10 2015
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Solar Eclipse Viewing 20th March 2015

8-11am Castle Park, Bristol

There will be a fantastic opportunity to see a partial solar eclipse from Bristol on 20th March, starting at about 08:20, reaching maximum at 09:30 and finishing at 10:40. At this time the Sun will be roughly in the South-East at about 20 degrees above the horizon. At maximum, about 85% of the Sun will be covered. It will appear as a slim crescent although it will still be too bright to be seen with the naked eye.

Come and visit the free BAS event next to St Peter's church in Castle Park to see many safe ways of viewing the solar eclipse. The event will, of course, be dependent on the weather, so check back here on the day for our latest event updates.


It is dangerous to look directly at the Sun even during a partial eclipse.

It is very dangerous to look at it through any optical instrument; this will cause permanent eye damage.


There are several ways to do this safely.

  1. Project an image on to a white card with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.
  2. Darken an East or South-East facing window with the blinds, leaving a small hole. An image of the Sun will appear on the wall opposite, or on a white card held in the narrow beam of sunlight from the hole.
  3. Using a small flat hand-mirror, bounce a beam of sunlight back on to a shadowed wall or screen. The best results are obtained by having the screen in a cardboard box which stops too much room light limiting the contrast.

(For both 2 and 3 above, the smaller the hole or mirror, the sharper the image will be but it will be less bright.)

  1. Use a telescope or a pair of binoculars fitted with a solar filter. This is a specialised technique which must only be attempted by an experienced solar observer with the proper equipment.
  2. Simply hold up a kitchen colander in front of a piece of white card - each hole is a pinhole camera and dozens of mini-eclipses will be projected onto the shadow of the colander!
  3. With no equipment at all: look around a sunlit room for tiny reflections of sunlight - you will see they are crescent shapes.

The Bristol astronomical Society is always available to give more detailed advice if required. As a registered charity, it is part of our remit to pass on our knowledge and experience to any member of the public or any public or private body, such as a school or club.



Last changed: Mar 16 2015 at 10:49 PM