CLOUDY conditions threaten to turn today’s special solar eclipse spectacle into a dud with gloomy weather forecast in some major viewing spots.

Skygazers in the US, Canada and Mexico are expecting a rare total solar eclipse, where the moon blocks the sun from view causing almost four-and-a-half minutes of complete darkness.

Cloud could block the stunning view

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Cloud could block the stunning view
Where to see the eclipse in the US

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Where to see the eclipse in the US
Parts of the UK expecting a partial eclipse

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Parts of the UK expecting a partial eclipseCredit: EPA
Rare total solar eclipse will be visible in the US, Canada and Mexico

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Rare total solar eclipse will be visible in the US, Canada and MexicoCredit: Getty

A less dramatic partial eclipse is set to appear over some parts of the UK and Ireland.

Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester and Liverpool are among the British cities that are supposed to have the best potential partial views, along with County Donegal in Ireland.

Even when you’ve got a thin crescent left, it’s still easy enough to damage your eyes

Dr Robert MasseyRoyal Astronomical Society

As much as 34.5 per cent of the sun could be covered if you’re in Galway, Ireland or 22.5 per cent from Stornoway, Scotland, according to the Royal Astronomical Society.

But cloud and rain is forecast in several key viewing points on both sides of the Atlantic that could spoil the view.

Read more about the eclipse

In the US, meteorologists at AccuWeather warned clouds will impact the opportunity to witness the total solar eclipse in almost every metro area along the path of totality in North America.

And it’s a similar picture in the UK.

For those still hoping to catch the partial eclipse, it’s expected to happen between about 19:50 and 20:50 depending on where you are.

Experts have warned that even a partial eclipse can still damage your eyes.

Most read in Science

“During the partial phase of the eclipse it’s incredibly important because the Sun remains extremely bright,” Dr Robert Massey from the Royal Astronomical Society explained.

“Even when you’ve got a thin crescent left, it’s still easy enough to damage your eyes.

How much of the Sun will be covered?

UK

  • Stornoway: 22.5% 
  • Inverness: 16% 
  • Edinburgh: 6.1% 
  • Glasgow: 11.2% 
  • Belfast: 17.2% 
  • Liverpool: 0.64% 
  • Manchester: 0.82%

Ireland 

  • Dublin: 15.4% 
  • Galway: 34.5% 
  • Cork: 19.5%
  • Limerick: 20%

Data according to Royal Astronomical Society

“Instead, what you need to do is either go to a public event where amateur astronomers might be projecting an image of the Sun you can look at, or if you can get hold of certified, proper, good-standard eclipse shades – you can buy them online – they block out most of the harmful light from the sun.”

You can also try making an easy viewing device out of a cereal box by watching the video at the top of the page.

Nasa expert explains the different types of solar eclipses

Nasa has also warned that merely trying to photograph the sun can damage your smartphone too.

Fortunately if weather does spoil the show for Brits there is a second chance to catch a partial eclipse which is only a year away.

In March 2025, between 30 and 40 per cent of the sun’s rays are predicted to be blocked.

Sadly, there aren’t any rare total eclipses visible from the UK anytime soon though, with the next expected all the way in 2090 – the last time it happened was in 1999.

READ MORE SUN STORIES

While the eclipse might capture most of your attention, it won’t be the only oddity to observe.

Animals, the wind and radio waves may also begin behaving strangely during the event.

Find out more about science

Want to know more about the weird and wonderful world of science? From the Moon to the human body, we have you covered…

This post first appeared on Thesun.co.uk

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