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What Time Is The Total Solar Eclipse 2017 And How To Watch It In The UK

You're not going to want to miss this.

21/08/2017 11:36 | Updated 21 August 2017

Starting from around 6:20PM UK time North America will be plunged into darkness as it experiences its first total solar eclipse in 99 years.

While millions of Americans will be able to witness the event sadly the UK will only be getting back row seats, with many of us only witnessing a very partial eclipse (if the weather holds out).

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Don’t panic though, thanks to NASA you can still watch this amazing event as it takes place live.

What time is the total solar eclipse in the UK?

The total eclipse is expected to make landfall around 6:20PM (UK) in Oregon and will then continue its journey across the United States finishing in South Carolina at around 6:45PM (UK).

Crossing an impressive total of 14 states there’s going to be no shortage of viewing locations.

NASA

See NASA’s full eclipse map here.

How can I see the total solar eclipse in the UK?

Sadly you won’t be able to watch the total solar eclipse in the UK in person.

Thankfully though you can watch the next best thing which will be NASA’s comprehensive live coverage of the event including multiple viewpoints and even an arial view of the eclipse from a specially launched weather balloon.

Watch NASA’s Livestream via Facebook Live:

How can I see a partial solar eclipse in the UK?

While the UK won’t get a total solar eclipse it will be getting what’s known as a partial solar eclipse.

In the UK, the partial solar eclipse will start quite late at around 8PM UK time and will be viewable in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Known as the penumbra, this outer shadow takes place when the Moon only partially obstructs the Sun.

Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

As such the Sun will already be extremely low in the sky which means the best way to view it will be either from a vantage point of height or where you have a clear viewpoint without obstructions.

Then of course there’s the weather, check well in advance and see if you can find a spot where there’s little or no cloud coverage.

UK Partial Eclipse Times:

Aberdeen: 7:56PM
Edinburgh: 7:58PM
Belfast: 8:00PM
Leeds: 8:01PM
Dublin: 8:01PM
Norwich: 8:02PM
Milton Keynes: 8:03PM
Cardiff: 8:05PM
London: 8:04PM
Portsmouth: 8:07PM

If you want to find out an eclipse in your specific area you can simply head here and type in your local town in the search bar.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse takes place when the Moon’s orbit places it directly between the Earth and the Sun.

This is different to a lunar eclipse which takes place when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon.

A solar eclipse creates two large shadows: The umbra and the penumbra.

As it reaches Earth the umbra will get smaller, creating a dark spot, this is the total solar eclipse. The penumbra on the other hand gets larger, covering huge swathes of the planet with a partial solar eclipse.

The last total solar eclipse took place in Indonesia in 2016, you can see the stunning photos from that event here:

  • AP
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Belitung, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo)
  • Irmansyah/AP
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Irmansyah)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Irmansyah)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Belitung, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The rare astronomical event is being witnessed Wednesday along a narrow path that stretches across 12 provinces encompassing three times zones and about 40 million people. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The rare astronomical event is being witnessed Wednesday along a narrow path that stretches across 12 provinces encompassing three times zones and about 40 million people. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The rare astronomical event is being witnessed Wednesday along a narrow path that stretches across 12 provinces encompassing three times zones and about 40 million people. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The moon is obscuring part of the sun during a solar eclipse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    DONGGALA, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: A view of the partial solar eclipse captured from Donggala. The total eclipse starts over the Indian Ocean, made landfall across Indonesia, including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, Teluk Tomini and Halmahera in the Moluccas and then headed out over the north Pacific Ocean, to ended near the Hawaiian islands. (Photo by Bambang Prastowo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    DONGGALA, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: A view of the partial solar eclipse captured from Donggala. The total eclipse starts over the Indian Ocean, made landfall across Indonesia, including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, Teluk Tomini and Halmahera in the Moluccas and then headed out over the north Pacific Ocean, to ended near the Hawaiian islands. (Photo by Bambang Prastowo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    DONGGALA, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: A view of the total solar eclipse captured from Donggala. The total eclipse starts over the Indian Ocean, made landfall across Indonesia, including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, Teluk Tomini and Halmahera in the Moluccas and then headed out over the north Pacific Ocean, to ended near the Hawaiian islands. (Photo by Bambang Prastowo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • SONNY TUMBELAKA via Getty Images
    The picture shows a total solar eclipse in Jimbaran on Bali island on March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on March 9, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals. / AFP / SONNY TUMBELAKA (Photo credit should read SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    NAKHON PATHOM, THAILAND - 2016/03/09: View of the solar eclipse around The Phra Sri thotphon President sakya phutthamonthon suthat at Office of National Buddhism in Nakhon Pathom. The phenomenon occurs when the moon laterally passes in front of the sun. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    NAKHON PATHOM, THAILAND - 2016/03/09: View of the solar eclipse around The Phra Sri thotphon President sakya phutthamonthon suthat at Office of National Buddhism in Nakhon Pathom. The phenomenon occurs when the moon laterally passes in front of the sun. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    MAKASSAR, SOUTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: Partial solar eclipse as seen in Makassar. Several place in Indonesia experienced total solar eclipse, meanwhile in Makassar people just experienced the partial eclipse. (Photo by Yermia Riezky Santiago/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    NAKHON PATHOM, THAILAND - 2016/03/09: View of the solar eclipse around The Phra Sri thotphon President sakya phutthamonthon suthat at Office of National Buddhism in Nakhon Pathom. The phenomenon occurs when the moon laterally passes in front of the sun. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    MAKASSAR, SOUTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: The partial solar eclipse as seen from behind the negative film. Several place in Indonesia experienced total solar eclipse, meanwhile in Makassar people just experienced the partial eclipse. (Photo by Yermia Riezky Santiago/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • SONNY TUMBELAKA via Getty Images
    The picture shows a total solar eclipse in Jimbaran on Bali island on March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on March 9, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals. / AFP / SONNY TUMBELAKA (Photo credit should read SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Bullit Marquez/AP
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Bullit Marquez/AP
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Heng Sinith/AP
    The moon is obscuring part of the sun during a solar eclipse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
  • Firdia Lisnawati/AP
    A partial solar eclipse is seen at Serangan village in Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. People gazed at the sky in wonder and cheered while others knelt in prayer as a total eclipse of the sun unfolded over Indonesia on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
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