Brits head for eclipse track

Thousands of Britons are heading east this weekend for the “World Cup” of natural events – a total eclipse of the Sun.
Resorts across southern Turkey are booked solid as stargazers flood into the country for the spectacle on Wednesday.
The Sun’s disk will be completely obliterated from view as the Moon’s shadow sweeps a path across the Sahara Desert, Turkey, and Central Asia.
Some teams of astronomers are making expeditions to Libya and Egypt.
But the vast majority are visiting resorts such as Side in the Antalya region of Turkey, popular with British trippers.
Some UK flights have been chartered to fly eclipse fans for a £400 brief overnight stay in Turkey to catch the spectacle which lasts just 3minutes and 41 seconds.
Some fear that Islamic extremists might take advantage of the eclipse to carry out an outrage against westerners.
But Antalya Governor Alaaddin Yuksel said that tight security measures will be put in place.
Fears of terrorism mean many visitors, especially some American groups, are avoiding the main countries and travelling to the only Greek island on the eclipse track.
Tiny Kastellorizo, just four square miles in size, is preparing for an invasion by around 1,000 space fans and scientists.
Extra ferry boat services are being laid on from the neighbouring island of Rhodes to cope with the influx.
Robin Scagell, of the UK’s Society for Popular Astronomy, said yesterday: “This is the last great eclipse over Europe for many years and many of our members are heading off to see it.”
A small partial eclipse of the Sun will be visible from the UK during the event with the moon covering just over a quarter of the Sun’s disk from London and less from Scotland and Ireland. From London the eclipse begins at 9.45am and ends at 11.22am.
But Robin warned against looking at the Sun without a proper safety filter. He said “The Sun is so brilliant that it is dangerous to look at it directly even with the naked eye. And a moment’s glance through a telescope or binoculars will blind you.”
A safe way to view will be via live coverage of the event will be carried on the internet, including Nasa TV. There are links to the broadcasts from the SPA’s website.

© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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