How solar eclipses affect weather

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Past studies have shown how solar eclipses can affect local weather conditions under the path of the eclipse, and the recent total solar eclipse in North America will no doubt give scientists another rare opportunity to examine this further. In general, both temperature and wind tends to decrease, albeit temporarily, when a solar eclipse takes place - and this was also exhibited at many weather stations across the United States during this event.

In some places, temperatures fell as much as 6C under the path of totality, with a notable lag after the peak of the eclipse. The graphic below uses 'unofficial' data from a private weather station in Hazard, Nebraska in the lead up to and peak of the solar eclipse. The day started rather foggy (temperature and dewpoints lines very close together) but this cleared to leave a sunny morning, with temperatures rising accordingly. There is, however, a notable decrease in temperature (in this case by approximately 3C) along with an easing of the wind, this peaking some 20-25 minutes after the maximum eclipse.



As mentioned in our previous article, a partial eclipse was also viewable from the British Isles, as captured by several people - primarily in the south and southwest where skies were generally clearest.




Dan Holley  22nd August 2017

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Solar Eclipse 2017

While parts of North America will experience a Total Solar Eclipse today, a partial eclipse will also be visible from the British Isles this evening. Depending on your location (generally earlier and shorter in duration the further north you are), the eclipse will begin between 19:30 - 19:40 BST where the moon first touches the Sun's edge, peaking around 19:50 - 20:10 BST with as much as 6% of the Sun obscured by the moon (bottom left corner of the Sun's disc), and ending at around 20:05 - 20:35 BST when the moon finally leaves the Sun's edge.


Click to enlarge

Clear skies may be hard to find given large amounts of cloud expected across the British Isles, but if you are fortunate enough you'll need to find a location with a clear view of the horizon to the WNW (west-northwest) since the sun will be quite low in the sky. In fact, for southern and eastern parts of the British Isles, the sun will set during the eclipse.

Remember, always wear eye protection when observing a solar eclipse, such as special eclipse glasses - sunglasses are not safe.

Dan Holley  21st August 2017