Partial solar eclipse UK 2022: How to view it safely in London this week

It may be another 68 years until a total solar eclipse, but Londoners will be treated to a partial eclipse in the capital this week.

London will be engulfed in a shadow on Tuesday morning as a partial solar eclipse is set to take place from mid-morning. The eclipse will be visible from not only the UK but parts of Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe.

It will be one of the best chances Londoners will have to see any kind of solar eclipse any time soon, as the next full eclipse will not take place until 2090. While not quite as impressive, the partial eclipse will still be a sight to behold  across its 90-plus minute pass over.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon aligns with the Sun and the Earth, with the moon blocking out sunlight and casting a shadow over a small part of the Earth. As the moon covers the sun, the daylight will turn to darkness and viewers will see the sun’s atmosphere for a few minutes - the corona.

If the moon covers the sun fully, this is known as a total eclipse (totality) however if the moon only partially covers the sun, that is considered a partial eclipse, such as the one happening tomorrow. This is due to the moon either being too high or low in orbit, so is not in the direct path of the Sun.

Royal Museums Greenwich will be using their state-of-the-art Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope housed at the Royal Observatory to live-stream the partial eclipse on YouTube and Facebook, with commentary from Public Astronomy Officer Jake Foster.

When will the solar eclipse occur in London?

The partial eclipse will start at 10.08 am BST on Tuesday (October 25) in the UK, and last for around one hour and 40 minutes. The full phases of the solar eclipse will be:

  • 10:08am - First contact: partial solar eclipse begins
  • 10:59 am - Maximum: the greatest amount of Sun hidden
  • 11:51 am - Partial eclipse ends

How can I watch the solar eclipse in London?

Whatever you do, do not look directly at the sun - doing so can damage your eyesight in the long term and will sting for a while shortly afterward. Instead, you can purchase solar eclipse viewing glasses (not sunglasses), watch the Royal Museums Greenwich live stream, or build a pinhole viewer.

How to make a pinhole viewer

To make a pinhole viewer, you will need a piece of card and something to make a hole in it. Now that you have your materials, make a hole in a piece of card, hold the card up to the Sun, and hold a piece of paper behind the card. Children should askAsk for a parent’s or guardian’s permission to help with the puncturing process.

You should now be able to see the shape of the Sun projected onto the paper - a small version of the solar event for a small price.