Total eclipse of the sun: Guidance for schools (with thanks to Jaffa Cakes)

Total eclipse of the sun: Guidance for schools (with thanks to Jaffa Cakes)

Tomorrow morning there will be a total eclipse of the sun.

In the UK, we will get a partial (up to 97 per cent) view of the sun blocked out.

The further north you are, the more of an eclipse you will see.

Total solar eclipses take place when the Earth, Moon and Sun are almost precisely aligned and the shadow of the Moon touches the surface of the Earth.

The last time we had such an extensive eclipse was in 1999 and it’s not going to happen again until 2026 – making it a great opportunity for schoolchildren.

But it comes with associated health and safety risks.

The Royal Astronomical Society has put together a handy booklet on “How to observe an eclipse safely”, which teachers can read for guidance, and which could be used as teaching material.

Frances Pickworth, a researcher at The Key specialising in school health and safety, said: “Tomorrow’s solar eclipse presents a fantastic learning opportunity for children at school.

“However, it is really important not to look directly at the sun, as this can cause damage to the eyes. To make sure children are able to watch the eclipse safely, you could buy solar eclipse glasses, or help pupils to make their own pinhole projectors.”

You could also watch the eclipse via live web feed, in the classroom.

If you want to find out when is going to be the best time to watch it at your school, this website allows you to search by closest city and gives you exact timings.

Be aware that the start of the eclipse in the UK is at about 8.30am, so parents should also be aware of advice to protect their children’s eyes on the way to school.

And if all else fails, take a packet of Jaffa Cakes: