Astronomers are counting down the days before a total solar eclipse appears over Earth.
But the highly-anticipated show on March 20th can only be witnessed in full by those in northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands.
Now scientists have come up with a plan for anyone to see a 360 degree view of the eclipse using GoPro cameras high above Earth’s stratosphere.
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The highly-anticipated show on March 20th can only be witnessed in full by those in northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands. But now scientists have come up with a plan for anyone to see a 360 degree view of the eclipse using GoPro cameras high above Earth’s stratosphere
‘Eclipses happen quite often. But this one’s different,’ said project coordinater Annelie Schoenmaker. ‘The moon’s shadow will sweep over the North Pole.’
Ms Schoenmaker explained that seen from the North Pole, the moon’s diameter will appear larger than the sun itself, blocking all direct sunlight and turning day into night.
This means that the solar eclipse will take place just as the sun comes into view after six months of polar night.
Her ‘zero2infinity’ group recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the project.
Their plan is to launch a balloon carrying GoPro cameras to record a 360 degree video of the eclipse from at least 31 miles (50km) above Earth.
The Spanish group recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the project. Their plan is to launch a balloon carrying GoPro cameras to record a 360 degree video of the eclipse from at least 31 miles (50km) above Earth
The path of totality for next month’s eclipse will travel from just beneath the Greenland peninsula, heading north into the Arctic Circle. The left-hand animation shows the totality of the 1999 eclipse. The right-hand animation shows how the shadow created by the eclipse on 20 March will travel over Europe
Projection: Place a pinhole or small opening in a card, and hold it between the sun and a screen – giant sheet of white paper works – a few feet away.
Filters: The sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver on the surfaces.
Telescopes with solar filters: There are sun-specific telescopes available for sale – or perhaps through a local astronomy club – that are also safe for viewing a partial eclipse.
On a mobile device: If the Indiegogo project is successful, you could stream a 360 degree, HD view of the eclipse onto a mobile device.
On the ground, participants will get a live stream into their tablet or smart phone showing the stunning event.
So far the Barcelona-based team have raised $3,000 dollars towards their goal to raise $28,000 with just 26 days left.
The eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered in London – and around 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Dr Steve Bell, head of the HM Nautical Almanac Office told MailOnline that Torshavn in the Faroe Islands will see two minutes and two seconds of totality.
And the maximum duration of totality will be two minutes 47 seconds at a point 186 miles (300km) to the east of Iceland in the Norwegian Sea.
In London, the partial eclipse – when the moon starts touching the sun’s edge – will start at 8.45am GMT. The maximum eclipse will hit at 9.31am and this will be the point when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun.
By 10.41am the moon will leave the sun’s edge and the partial eclipse will end.
The solar eclipse is set to block out nearly 90 per cent of sunlight across parts of Europe next month. On the morning of the 20 March the moon’s orbit will see it travel in front of the sun casting a shadow over Earth – and the eclipse will be the biggest event of its kind since 11 August 1999 (pictured over Germany)
This animation is designed to appear from the ‘point of view’ of the eclipse as it will occur on March 20. It shows the shadow being cast over the UK, Greenland, Europe and into Russia
The path of totality of next month’s eclipse travels from just beneath the Greenland peninsula, heading north into the Arctic Circle.
Totality is the path the full shadow travels across the surface of the Earth, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of miles wide.
Dr Bell added: ‘The path of totality lies well to the northwest of the UK making landfall over the Faroe Islands and Svalbard as totality moves towards the North Pole.
‘The UK will see this eclipse as a deep partial eclipse.
The eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered in London and around 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. A partial eclipse will be visible across Europe, North Africa and Russia for about 90 minutes. Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands will experience a full eclipse for two-and-a-half minutes
‘The place that sees the deepest partial eclipse of the sun in the UK is the west coast of the Isle of Lewis close to Aird Uig.
‘Here 98 per cent of the sun will be obscured at mid-eclipse at around 9:36am GMT.
‘Skies will darken for any location where the maximum obscuration exceeds 95 per cent which includes north-western Scotland, the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland Islands.
The last solar eclipse of a similar size took place on 11 August 1999 and had an eclipse magnitude of 1.029.
An eclipse magnitude is the fraction of the sun’s diameter obscured by the moon.
It is based on a ratio of diameters and differs from an eclipse obscuration, which is a measure of the sun’s surface area covered by the Moon.
The value given is taken at the moment when the eclipse is at its maximum.
The path of the moon’s shadow in August 1999 began in the Atlantic Ocean before covering the south of the UK, northern France, Belgium, Luxembourg, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.
It was said to have been the first total eclipse visible in Europe since 22 July 1990, and the first visible in the UK since 29 June 1927.
The solar eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered over London and around 94 per cent in the main cities in Scotland (pictured is a full eclipse over Australia in 2012). Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands will experience a full eclipse for two minutes and nine seconds
Dr Bell continued: ‘In a global context, the maximum duration of totality for next month’s eclipse will exceed the maximum of two minutes and 23 seconds of totality for the 1999 eclipse, which occurred close to Ramnicu Valcea in Romania.
‘This is still quite a long way short of the theoretical maximum duration of totality which can reach seven minutes 31 seconds.’
There will not be another total eclipse until 2026.
Tom Kerss, astronomer at The Royal Observatory Greenwich told MailOnline: ‘Since the moon is smaller than the Earth, and very far away, the properly dark shadow it casts will only be about 100 miles wide, and will spend most of its time darkening the chilly waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
‘However, if the weather is clear, observers on Svalbard and the Faroes should experience almost three minutes of extraordinary day-time darkness.
‘What’s more, lunar perigee – the time in the Lunar month when the Earth and Moon are closest together – will occur the evening before the eclipse.
This makes our 2015 Spring Equinox eclipse a ‘supermoon’ eclipse – perhaps we should call that a supereclipse.
‘Since the shadow of the moon will be ever so slightly larger in this scenario, it might appear slightly darker during totality, but in practise I think this would be difficult to detect, even by an experienced eclipse chaser.
‘Nevertheless, it’s nice to have a supermoon, equinox and eclipse all falling on the same day.’
A total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line. The totality of the 11 August 1999 eclipse is shown
An eclipse occurs when one heavenly body, such as a moon or planet, moves into the shadow of another. On Earth there are two types – lunar eclipses and solar eclipses.
Lunar eclipse: For a lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the sun and the moon and blocks sunlight normally reflected by the moon.
Instead of light hitting the moon’s surface, Earth’s shadow falls on it and a lunar eclipse can only happen when the moon is full.
Solar eclipse: By comparison, a solar eclipse occurs when the orbit of the moon moves it between the sun and Earth.
A solar eclipse occurs when the orbit of the moon moves it between the sun and Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun
When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun reaching Earth and the moon casts a shadow on Earth.
Types of shadow: During a solar eclipse, the moon casts two shadows on Earth.
The first shadow is called the umbra, and this gets smaller as it reaches Earth.
The second shadow is known as the penumbra, and this gets larger as it reaches Earth.
There are additionally three types of solar eclipses:
Total: A total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth.
For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line.
People standing in the umbra will see a total eclipse and this will occur over the Faroe Islands on 20 March.
Partial solar eclipse: This occurs when the sun, moon and Earth don’t line up exactly.
People standing in the penumbra will see a partial eclipse.
Annular: An annular eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth. Because the moon is further from Earth, it appears smaller.
As a result, it doesn’t block the entire view of the sun. The moon in front of the sun resembles a dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk and creates what looks like a ring around the moon.
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