3h agoLabour will use AI to speed up benefit claims and match unemployed people with jobs
3h agoBiden and Sunak are on the same page - with the US-UK alliance needed as much as ever
5h agoTurkey will sign off on Sweden joining Nato, says alliance's chief

When is the next eclipse? List of solar and lunar eclipses in 2023 and beyond, and if you can see them in UK

Eclipses are some of the most spectacular celestial events visible from Earth – you do not even need a telescope – and are always highlights of the stargazing calendar

In astronomy, an eclipse happens when a body comes between Earth and either the Sun or the Moon, either completely or partially blocking out the light they emit.

Eclipses are some of the most spectacular celestial events visible from Earth – you do not even need a telescope – and are always highlights of the stargazing calendar.

And because scientists are able to accurately track the paths of Earth, the Moon and other bodies in space years ahead of time, we already know when they next eclipses will be visible.

What types of eclipse are there?

Total solar eclipse

An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon comes directly between the Sun and Earth so that Earth lies in the shadow of the Moon.

Because the Moon is much smaller than Earth, its shadow only covers a small part of Earth’s surface. That means that a solar eclipse can only be seen from a certain region of the planet.

Annular solar eclipse

Greenwich Observatory explains: “When the Moon is not at its closest to the Earth, its apparent diametre is less than that of the Sun. Even where the Moon’s disk obscures the Sun centrally, the outer ring of the Sun’s disk is still visible. This is called an annular eclipse.”

Total lunar eclipse

An eclipse of the Moon occurs when the Earth lies directly between the Sun and the Moon, meaning the Moon lies in the shadow of the Earth.

Lunar eclipses are more frequent than their solar counterparts, and perhaps slightly less spectacular, but are still exciting events for stargazers.

During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon usually turns a deep, dark red because it is illuminated by light that has passed through the Earth’s atmosphere and has been bent back towards the Moon by refraction.

Partial lunar eclipse

During the partial phase of the eclipse, part of the Moon travels through the Earth’s full “umbral” shadow.

However, on this occasion, only a very small section of the Moon will be covered by the umbra at maximum eclipse, though the whole northern half of the Moon will be darkened by the penumbral shadow.

Penumbral lunar eclipse

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon travels only through the outer, fainter part of the Earth’s shadow, or “penumbra”. This happens when the Earth moves between the Sun and Moon but the three do not form a perfectly straight line.

When are the next eclipses visible from the UK?

The next eclipse visible from the UK will be a partial lunar eclipse on 28 October, 2023. It will be visible across Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as in western Australia.

Greenwich Observatory said: “From the UK we’ll only see a small fraction of the full moon pass into the umbra. At its maximum, which occurs at 9.15pm, just 12 per cent will be in shadow.”

There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse on 25 March, 2024, and then another partial lunar eclipse on 18 September, 2024.

The next partial solar eclipse visible in the UK will be on 29 March, 2025. It will also be visible from north-west Africa, Europe and northern Russia.

On 12 August, 2026, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Atlantic Ocean and northern Spain.

A partial eclipse should be visible from the UK, with about 90 per cent of the Sun covered.

The last time the path of an eclipse’s totality went over the UK was in 1999. It was one of the most-viewed total solar eclipses ever, due to its path falling on areas of high population density.

Many people went to view the eclipse in Cornwall – the only place in the UK to witness totality.

Most Read By Subscribers