Solar Eclipses in the UK
Does your great-grandmother have
memories of an eclipse in her
youth? Or are you curious about your next chance to see a total solar
eclipse from the UK? Well, don't hold your breath... but you might
find the answers here.
Since the re-occurrence of an eclipse in a given part of the Earth
is dictated by the Triple
Saros, I've identified eclipses which belong to the same Triple
Saros series. Note that since successive eclipses in a series
overlap, and since the Triple Saros isn't perfect, eclipses don't
always re-occur every 3 times in a Saros series.
annular solar eclipses in the UK --
and some nearby -- from 1900 to 2100 are listed here; where the date is highlighted, you can click on it to go to a detailed page about that eclipse:
- 8 Apr 1921 - Annular Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 118, umbral mag. 0.975, max. eclipse 09:15 UT
annular: 08:21:03 UT to 10:07:48 UT)
An annular eclipse was visible in a broad south-west / north-east
band covering the Hebrides and north-west Scotland, with the
centreline just touching Cape Wrath, but with the annular eclipse
extending to Dingwall. The south-east edge of the path ran from
Tobermory to Dingwall, and touched the coast at Wick.
This was the last annular eclipse in this series to pass over
Britain. The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series happened on May
11, 1975; it was a partial eclipse.
- 24 Jan 1925 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 120, umbral mag. 1.030, max. eclipse 14:54 UT
total: 14:00:54 UT to 15:46:11 UT)
A total eclipse passed between the Faroes and north-west Scotland,
The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series happened on Feb 26,
1979; it passed north of Britain. However, 2 eclipses later in
the same Saros series, an annular eclipse will be visible in the
Faroes on Mar 20, 2015.
- 29 Jun 1927 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 145, umbral mag. 1.013, max. eclipse 06:23 UT
total: 05:20:01 UT to 07:25:57 UT)
The very beginning of this eclipse was visible just after dawn in
the UK; the narrow start of the track ran from north-west Wales, to
Southport, and then Middlesbrough.
The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series occured on Jul 31,
1981, but too far to the east to be seen in Britain. But the very
next eclipse after that in this Saros series happened on
Aug 11 1999!
- 30 Jun 1954 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 126, umbral mag. 1.036, max. eclipse 12:32 UT
total: 05:20:01 UT to 07:25:57 UT)
A total eclipse passed directly over the Faroes, and just clipped the
north of the Shetland islands (the centreline didn't touch the British
The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series will be on Aug 1,
2008, far to the north of Britain.
- 11 Aug 1999 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 145, umbral mag. 1.029, max. eclipse 11:03 UT
total: 09:29:54 UT to 12:36:26 UT)
On Wednesday, August 11, 1999, a total eclipse of the Sun -- the final
total solar eclipse of the millennium (there was none in 2000) -- was
visible from the South-West corner of England, much of mainland
Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.
This was quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance for millions
of people -- the last total eclipse in the United Kingdom mainland was
in 1927, and the next is in 2090! Even Europe will not see such an
event again until 2081. This eclipse is from the same Saros series as
the famous British total eclipse of Jun 29 1927, although it does not
belong to the same triple Saros.
- 31 May 2003 - Annular Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 147, umbral mag. 0.938, max. eclipse 04:08 UT
annular: 03:44:53 UT to 04:31:28 UT)
An annular eclipse -- the first central (ie. not partial) eclipse in
its series -- covers the top of the Earth, and partly misses it
entirely. It will be seen in most of the Highlands, including
Inverness, the Orkneys, Shetlands, and Lewis (as well as Iceland and
large parts of Greenland), at around dawn. The rest of the UK will
see the Sun rise partially eclipsed.
The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series will happen on Jul 1,
2057, but will not be visible in Britain. However, two eclipses later
in the same Saros series, an eclipse is visible in central Britain on
Jul 23 2093.
- 20 Mar 2015 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 120, umbral mag. 1.045, max. eclipse 09:46 UT
total: 09:09:32 UT to 10:21:20 UT)
A total eclipse will be visible in the vicinity of the British Isles
in the morning; it will be visible from the Faroes, but not from the
UK. The path crosses between Scotland and Iceland, over the Faroe
islands, and into the Arctic. A 90% partial eclipse
will be seen in north-west Scotland.
This is from the same Saros series as the eclipse of Jan 24 1925,
and is the last-but-one total eclipse in its Saros series. The next
eclipse in the triple-Saros series is a partial eclipse, on Apr 21,
- 3 Sep 2081 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 136, umbral mag. 1.072, max. eclipse 09:05 UT
total: 07:26:54 UT to 10:43:13 UT)
A broad total eclipse will miss the south of Cornwall, but pass
over the Channel islands (which are quite far off the centreline) in
the early morning, and into north-west France.
The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series occurs on Oct 07,
2135, and crosses right over the UK. The partial eclipse will
be visible in north-east Canada, over northern Russia, northern
and western Europe, and north-west Africa.
- 23 Sep 2090 - Total Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 155, umbral mag. 1.056, max. eclipse 16:53 UT
total: 16:10:13 UT to 17:37:48 UT)
The first total eclipse in the UK in the third millennium occurs close
to sunset. Its centreline misses the British mainland, but is very
close to the Channel Islands. The broad path of totality -- over
240km wide -- covers south-west Ireland, most of the south coast of
England, all of Cornwall and Devon, and the Channel Islands, as well
as a large part of northern France. Most of the UK will see the Sun
set partially eclipsed.
The north limit of totality passes just south of Killarney and Cork
in Ireland, then cuts through the south side of the Bristol Channel
and hits the mainland at around Bridgwater. It then cuts south-east
across England to Hastings. The longest total eclipse in Britain (not
including the Channel Islands) will be seen in south-west Cornwall
- 23 Jul 2093 - Annular Solar Eclipse
- (Saros 147, umbral mag. 0.946, max. eclipse 12:29 UT
annular: 10:49:23 UT to 14:09:05 UT)
An annular eclipse will be visible over a broad track, including
most of Northern Ireland, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The centreline
crosses the British mainland from Ayr to Newcastle. The central
duration will be over 5 minutes.
This eclipse belongs to the same Saros series as the one on May 31,
2003. The next eclipse in the triple-Saros series occurs on Aug 26,
2147, but is not visible from Britain.
Data derived from: