Solar eclipse next month poses risk of electricity blackout across Europe

Europe will experience its biggest solar eclipse this century with London having close to 84% of the sun blocked out. Electricity system operators are warning of the serious risk posed by the blackouts because the continent has an increasing reliance on solar power.

 Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Image by NASA Goddard Space Flig / CC BY 2.0

The event is due on the 20th of March when the moon’s orbit puts it directly in front of the sun, thereby casting a shadow over earth. The Daily Mail reports that Europe will suffer 90% of sun block with the Scottish cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen hitting 94% blockage. The eclipse will be visible for about an hour and a half.

Two areas - Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands - will experience totality or a full eclipse. The head of the HM Nautical Almanac Office Dr Steve Bell, said the Faroe Islands area of Torshavn will experience two minutes and two seconds of totality. An area to the east of Iceland in the Norwegian Sea will see a maximum duration of totality - two minutes 47 seconds. The partial eclipse in London from the time the moon starts touching the sun's edge - will commence at 8.45am GMT. The maximum eclipse will hit at 9.31am and after a further 70 minutes, the partial eclipse will end. Dr Bell added that Britain would see this eclipse as a deep partial eclipse.

The last solar eclipse of a similar size took place on 11 August, 1999 and another total eclipse will occur in 2026.

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