NI skygazers can catch a glimpse of April solar eclipse in two cities next week

Skygazers will be treated to an incredible astronomical phenomenon next week- a total solar eclipse.

And if you’re lucky enough to be in certain parts of Northern Ireland, you won’t need to travel too far to catch a glimpse of one of the most spectacular sights in the solar system.

Belfast and Derry are among a handful of towns and cities in the UK and Ireland where you’ll be able to see a partial eclipse just before sunset on Monday, April 8th.

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A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the earth or the sun, blocking some or all of the sun’s rays from reaching the earth.

Next Monday, the sun and moon will align perfectly for a total solar eclipse that will be visible over the USA. While the UK and Ireland will not see a total solar eclipse, some towns will be able to observe the partially obscured sun starting from 19:52 BST – just before sunset.

Eagle-eyed viewers in Belfast and Derry will have a chance to see the astronomical phenomenon alongside Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Belmullet, Galway and Dublin, according to UK Weather Updates.

They posted on X (formerly Twitter): “Lots of talk within the US community about the solar eclipse on the 8th of April; while parts of the UK and Ireland will be able to see it too, there will be a very short opportunity for it, as the eclipse will take place at sunset shortly before the sun goes below the horizon.

“Western parts of Ireland are at the greatest chance due to a later sunset time.”

Across the UK and Ireland, the town of Belmullet in Co Mayo will see the most coverage with 44% obscuration, followed by Galway with 35%, Derry (21%), Belfast (17%) and Dublin with 15% obscuration.

Northern Ireland and Scotland will have the best views of the eclipse, although the sun may begin to set by the time the eclipse starts.

Which towns in the UK and Ireland will see the solar eclipse?


Derry: 21.5%

Belfast: 17.3%

Glasgow: 11.2%

Edinburgh: 6.1%

Aberdeen: 4.2%

Liverpool: 0.64%


Belmullet: 44.2%

Galway: 35.5%

Dublin: 15.5%

*Percentages reveal how much of the sun will be covered

Professor Don Pollacco, an astronomer from the University of Warwick, explained the science behind the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) and what to expect.

He said: “TSEs occur on average about every 18 months but the visibility path of seeing the full total eclipse is extremely narrow, around just 80 miles. If you are not located within that track, you will not see a total eclipse.

“The path of totality starts in the South Pacific and moves through Mexico and up through the USA, before finishing in the Atlantic, west of Ireland.

“From the UK and Ireland, you will see a partial eclipse of the Sun close to sunset, with about 20-30% of the Sun obscured by the Moon. The next total eclipse of the Sun visible from the UK is in 2090. There is another in 2026 that is visible in northern Spain, tracking up to Iceland.

“The best views of the total eclipse will be in Mexico and Texas (west of Austin) and this eclipse could potentially be seen by many millions of people, even though eclipses usually occur in remote areas. In these places the Sun will be close to overhead at totality.”

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