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Solar eclipse 2024: Where in the UK to see celestial spectacle

Solar eclipse 2024: Where in the UK to see celestial spectacle

A solar eclipse that passes directly over North America on Monday will be partially visible from parts of the UK, according to forecasters.

The Sun will be completely hidden behind the Moon across large parts of the US, making it appear as though day has briefly turned into night.

:: Follow the latest on the eclipse on our live blog here.

Total darkness will last for up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds, while those not directly under the path of totality will see skies darken as the Sun is partially hidden.

In the UK, the partial solar eclipse crosses over the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the west of England.

The celestial event will take place at sunset in the UK, just before the Sun disappears below the horizon at around 8pm, however it looks likely to be obscured by clouds for many.

The best place to view the spectacle in the British Isles would be the west coast of Ireland, though forecasts from Met Éireann for Monday evening currently predict heavy cloud and rain throughout most of the country.

There are similar forecasts in place for Glasgow and Edinburgh, which will see a 10-11 per cent obscuration, though Wales northern Scotland and South West England have more favourable weather forecasts.

The path of totality for the solar eclipse on 8 April, 2024 (Nasa)
The path of totality for the solar eclipse on 8 April, 2024 (Nasa)

Motoring experts have warned UK drivers about the risk of being distracted by the spectacle.

“It should go without saying that staring directly at the Sun is to be avoided at all costs, and the risk of being temporarily blinded while on the road is all too obvious,” said Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing.

“Be prepared for sudden changes in light and have your headlights switched on. It’s also wise to watch out for other distracted drivers - and pedestrians - who might be focussed on the skies and not the traffic around them.”

The last solar eclipse to pass over the US in 2017 resulted in an uptick in fatal road accidents, according to a recent research letter published in the scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

A 31 per cent increase in fatal crashes was recorded on 21 August 2017, the authors wrote, attributing part of this surge to heavy traffic from people travelling to and from locations to view the eclipse.