The polar equinox eclipse of 2015
On average, a total solar eclipse visits some spot on Earth every 16 months or so. Totality can occur anywhere on the planet and usually in remote locations. The next total solar eclipse occurs this March 20, 2015 and presents a viewing opportunity to both a remote and populous region. The only landfall for the total solar eclipse are the Faroe Islands and Svalbard, coming tantalizingly close to Iceland, Scotland, and Norway.
A few thousand intrepid eclipse chasers will visit the path of totality by airplane or ship. But the limited accommodations on land and berths on ship will exclude many who wish to see nature's greatest spectacle, a total eclipse of the sun. Many millions of Europeans will be consoled by a splendid view of a deep partial solar eclipse. This sight will be memorable, but you must use approved solar eclipse glasses to safely view the diminished figure of the sun. If you are in Europe, be sure to acquire your eclipse glasses soon and then save them for a summer holiday in the United States to see the full glory of a total solar eclipse of 2017.
The total solar eclipse begins south of Greenland and passes between Iceland and Scotland. The path of the total solar eclipse ends at the North Pole on the Spring Equinox. This means that totality will greet whoever may be at the pole at the very dawn of the pole's half-year long summer day. This is indeed a very rare circumstance, will anyone be at the pole to see this?
For visibility maps of precisely where the total solar eclipse can be seen in the Faroe Islands, visit www.greatamericaneclipse.com/blog/2015/2/27/eclipse-visibility-in-the-faroe-islands. For visibility maps for the total solar eclipse over Svalbard, visit www.greatamericaneclipse.com/blog/2015/2/24/eclipse-visibility-in-svalbard.
For precise eclipse predictions, visit the trusted site of eclipsewise.com/solar/SEprime/2001-2100/SE2015Mar20Tprime.html for all timings and circumstances of this eclipse. EclipseWise.com is operated by retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak. For the best source of eclipse weather data, visit eclipser.ca, run by eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson. For an interactive Google map showing precise circumstances for any point on a map, visit Xavier Jubier's site at xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/xSE_GoogleMap3.php?Ecl=+20150320
This total solar eclipse will be difficult for most Europeans to see due to limited accommodations and access to the Faroe Islands and Svalbard. If you can't see this total solar eclipse, be sure to plan a visit to the United States in August 2017 for a total solar eclipse which crosses the entire US.
Another fun exercise is to use the partial solar eclipse as a simulation of how dim sunshine is on outer planets of the solar system. This infographic shows where you can see dimmed sunlight as it would appear on Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. To see dimmed sunlight as you would on Neptune, you would need to be about 25 km from the limit of the total solar eclipse. To see dimmed sunlight as you would on Uranus, you would need to be about 55 km from the limit of the total solar eclipse. To see dimmed sunlight as you would on Saturn, you would need to be about 125 km from the limit of the total solar eclipse.
The maps below show eclipse timings, magnitude, and sun altitude. Click on any map to see it enlarged.
Click on any of the map below to see a overview map of the eclipse's full extent.