Shetland the place to be for tomorrow’s solar show

Shetland is expected to be one of the best locations in the UK to view tomorrow’s partial solar eclipse.

The eclipse will be visible shortly after 10am, Thursday, 10th June with isle based observers expected to see just over a third of the sun covered by the moon, compared to just 20 per cent obscuration in London.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, causing the moon to cast its shadow over the earth.

Unst-based charity, Wild Skies Shetland, organise a variety of sky-related events with its ultimate aim to construct sky-watching shelters in Unst.

Jane Macaulay, secretary at Wild Skies Shetland, said: “Watching from Unst, the most northerly island in the UK, folk will be in the best position in the whole country to observe the phenomenon.

“Whatever the season in Shetland, it is the ideal location for watching the skies because the long, dark Shetland winter also offers visitors the chance to enjoy our stunning dark skies in Unst. Allow plenty of time, away from the lights of the city, to marvel at the northern lights,
the stars and the milky way.

“A Sky Trail, being developed by Wild Skies Shetland, will be available to visit from the autumn of 2021 and will be open all the year round.”

Viewing the eclipse directly with the naked eye can be hazardous, even if it’s partially covered by the moon, so wear eclipse glasses that allow you to look at the sun safely, or indirectly using a projection device such as a pinhole camera.

Steve Mathieson, VisitScotland development manager in Shetland, added: “Before Covid-19, we were seeing an increase in the popularity of astro tourism – the interest of tourists in space-related activities such as dark sky observation, astronomy, astro-photography and space technology.

“Visitor interest in dark skies and astro tourism has prompted many destinations and locations to make the most of the natural assets that clear night skies have to offer and it’s great to see Shetland also seizing these opportunities.”

Weather reports show just a 10 per cent chance of rain at 10am tomorrow with partially cloudy skies over Unst.

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