Cloudy or not? Total Eclipse USA and a partial glimpse for the UK
Blog by Jo Farrow
Published on 21st August 2017 07:45

Cloudy or not? Total Eclipse USA and a partial glimpse for the UK

A large swathe of the US will fall under a total eclipse on Monday 21st August. Here in the UK, we are well away from the path of totality but if you do still have your eclipse glasses from the March 2015 partial eclipse it maybe worth a look at sunset on Monday to see a small bit of the sun be blocked out. Apparently not if your glasses are over 3 years old or scratched so, ditch any from the total eclipse back in 1999. It is going to be a bit tricky to see much as NE Britain will only be under 1 or 2% partial eclipse, barely noticeable and for SE Britain, the sun will be below the horizon when this occurs. Not really our turn. 

Graphic from RAS Royal Astronomical Society, who state

The duration of the eclipse will be approximately 40 minutes, with the midpoint occurring at various times across the country. Viewers in Edinburgh can expect the peak of the eclipse at 19:58 BST whereas for those in Cardiff the peak will occur at 20:05 BST.

Update Mon21st        

Fri 18th - All of this, of course, depends on the cloud cover. And the forecast for Monday is a bit uncertain. Forecast models fluctuate a lot when an ex-tropical system gets in the mix. The remnants of an ex-hurricane, Gert will have got stirred up in a weather system coming across the Atlantic and looks to bring heavy and persistent rain to parts of the UK, most likely the north. Yet southern areas could stay fine and clear and be really warm. So ideal for an evening of sunshine. Do remember you should not look directly at the sun without proper glasses. Sunglasses are not suitable or you can use a pinhole projection. 

In the USA

As the moon orbits the earth it is going to get completely in between the sun and the earth on Monday, and it is the right distance away to block out all the light. This will result in the ominous darkening, the total eclipse and already thousands of people are traveling to the US, or across the States to get into position for a good view. Traffic and cloud cover willing.

The eclipse starts in Oregon in the NW at 10:15am PDT (18:15 BST)and finishes at South Carolina at 14:15EDT (19:15BST). This is actually about an hour and a half and the shadow (umbra) will cross 14 states, with about 2 minutes of darkness where the day seems like night. All of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse. 

Along with the strange darkening, wildlife and birds often quieten, people report a drop in temperature associated with the lack of sunlight and sometimes the wind drops. There is the anticipation, the buildup to totality and then the incredible moments when the sun is completely blocked out by the moon and we are able to view the sun's atmosphere, the corona. Small bright circles know as Baily's Beads can be seen as small chinks of sunlight twinkle through the topography of the moon, then totality and as the moon begins to move away, another Diamond Ring effect where the first shaft of sunlight appears and gives the appearance of the diamond ring


 NASA are encouraging people to get involved with recording observations as the eclipse occurs with a free app. Also, they will show the eclipse on NASA TV

“No matter where you are in North America, whether it’s cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people as possible to help with this citizen science project,” said Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator for the project. “We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists.”


In other excitement, there are hundreds of T-shirts to choose from, stickers, hats, jewelry, caps, special stamps, eclipse donuts believe it or not. For those who remember Bonnie Tyler being at Number one in the UK charts, with Total Eclipse (of the heart), she's back combining her hit and a real total eclipse. Pure magic. 


If all this eclipse chat gets you in the mood, unfortunately another total eclipse won't be visible from mainland UK until 2090, although a very large partial eclipse, will pass over the UK in August 2026. 

NASA has some great maps, information, and videos all about the eclipse. See example below.

Will it....? be Hot/ Thunder / Snow / Rain

Discussion and chat about the Total Eclipse in the Netweather Community Forum 

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