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Partial eclipse of the sun visible in Lincolnshire and Rutland

Dig out those super-safe sun safety-glasses kept at the back of the cupboard since 1999, turn your eyes skywards and look out tomorrow (Thursday, June 10) for a partial solar eclipse.

From 10.07am until 12.26pm - with maximum coverage at 11.14am - the moon will come between us and the sun, although cloud is forecast.

Solar eclipses happen when the Earth, moon and sun aligned so that the moon leaves a shadow on Earth. The last full one in England was 1999.

A partial eclipse is caused as the moon passes between the sun and Earth
A partial eclipse is caused as the moon passes between the sun and Earth

The type of solar eclipse depends on where the moon is in its elliptical orbit. If the moon is at its closest point to Earth (called perigee) it can block out most of the sun’s rays, creating a total eclipse.

But if the moon is aligned with the sun when it is near to its furthest point (apogee) from the Earth, it won’t block out all light. Instead, it leaves a red ring or ‘annulus’ visible, creating an annular eclipse.

Tomorrow the top of the sun only will be covered in shadow.

Partial eclipse of the sun
Partial eclipse of the sun

Watching the eclipse comes with a health warning. Dr Chien Wong, consultant retinal surgeon at OCL Vision, said: “Solar eclipses can be a breathtaking spectacle. But if you’re not careful, viewing them can put your eyes at serious risk.

“Viewing the sun directly, even momentarily, can cause irreversible damage to your eyes - particularly your fine central vision. The delicate retina cells can be damaged by the sun’s rays, which remain powerful even during an eclipse.

“There is no treatment for this kind of damage, and clearly no spectacle is worth permanently harming your vision.

“Wearing sunglasses will provide only limited protection if you look at the sun directly. The safest way to view an eclipse is indirectly - for example by making a pinhole camera out of cardboard.

“Dedicated solar eclipse glasses and filters can be used, but even they should be worn with caution, as the sun is still capable of breaking through this technology.

“While nothing beats seeing the cosmic beauty of the stars with your own eyes, when it comes to viewing a solar eclipse, it’s much safer to consider watching it on your TV.”

But there is a safe way to look at it. Grab a colander, hold it out above a piece of white paper and look at the shadow of the eclipse.

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