Solar Eclipse 2015: Where To Watch It And Get The Best Sighting

Where should you go to enhance your chances of experiencing the best sighting of the near-total eclipse on Friday?

Central Engand, south west England and parts of Wales currently appear to be key viewing points in the UK as forecasters predict those areas will be covered in less cloud than others from about 9am.

The moon will start crossing over the sun at 8:45am with the total eclipse then taking place at 9:31am. Normal daylight will be resumed at 10:41am.

Here are 10 places you can go in the hope of witnessing scientific history... but beware - cloudy weather might dictate otherwise, so keep your fingers crossed for breaks in the cloud.

Lerwick is one of the top places to see the eclipse

1) Lerwick in the Shetland Isles

The proportion of the sun covered by the moon in Lerwick is expected to be 97% - not far off a total eclipse and will be the darkest place in the UK. Lerwick is Shetland's only town, with a population of about 7,500.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve are hosting a public viewing event, which will take place from the foghorn platform and west seabird viewing platform - both of which give clear unobstructed views of the sky and sea where the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Local astronomical enthusiasts will be on hand with telescopes and other special techniques used to capture safe images of the event, and will also be able to answer questions and give advice, according to the Shetland tourism website.

2) Birmingham Cathedral

Birmingham Cathedral and its gardens on Colmore Row will offer an extra spectacular setting for viewing the eclipse. Astronomers from Birmingham University will provide expert advice and information when the eclipse is visible at about 9.30am. Birmingham is currently expected to be under some cloud but if that clears then viewers will be rewarded as there is around a 90% proportion of the sun expected to be covered by the moon.

3) Dundee

The Mills Observatory in Dundee is open to the public for a special astronomical event to view the eclipse. Forecasters currently predict that while there will be some cloud around Dundee, it does not seem to be as badly affected as other places. It falls within the Met Office's 95% band in terms of the proportion of the sun covered by the moon.

4) Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln

There will be around a 90% proportion of the sun covered by the moon in these places and they currently fall within a band of land that is under the fewest clouds. Sky gazers will be hoping it stays that way.

Cardiff has a special event to view the eclipse

5) Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff is inviting people to join scientists to view the spectacle but add that it is "weather permitting". Accroding to a Met Office graphic, the Welsh capital will be under wispy cloud coverage around the time of the spectacle. But is not unknown for a fleeting break in cloud to occur during an eclipse as the atmosphere cools.

6) Royal Observatory in Greenwich

The Royal Observatory will open at 8am allowing the public to view the whole of the eclipse. It will hold a morning of safe observing through telescopes and solar viewers, and the Observatory's astronomy team and members of the Flamsteed Astronomy Society will be on hand to supervise and answer any questions. In London, the eclipse begins at 8.24am, reaches its maximum extent at 9.31am, and ends at 10.41am. The proportion of the sun covered by the moon in London is expected to be 84%.

7) Regent's Park in London

Members of the public will have the chance to view the eclipse using specialist equipment at this event. It is being hosted in Regents Park by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and a group of amateur sky-watchers called the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers. The RAS said there will be a range of hydrogen alpha scopes to reveal the sun's broiling atmosphere, the filaments and solar prominences, white light filters that show the sunspots on the surface of the sun and dark solar eyeglasses for visual observing.

8) Hop on a plane

If you can get above the cloud cover you will get an unobscured view of the sun as the moon passes across, a Met Office spokesman said. Much like being on the ground, exactly what you will see will depend on your latitude - the further north you are, the more the sun will be covered by the moon during the partial eclipse. EasyJet said passengers on three of its flights to Reykjavik in Iceland would have a grand-stand view of the total eclipse.

Svalbard: A little further away... but worth it

9) Faroe Islands and Svalbard

It might be a bit of a trek and would definitely involve taking a day off work, but a trip here would be worth it. Tomorrow's eclipse will produce a 100-mile-wide "totality" shadow path that crosses the North Atlantic and covers only two land masses, the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Away from this path the sun is partly obscured. Several tour operators have organised "total eclipse" trips to the Faroe Islands and Norway.

10) Online

If the weather proves to be ruining your chances, you can always turn to the internet. A number of websites will be streaming video of the event live from other locations. The Royal Observatory's blog recommends these two websites:

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipses Around The World