The East Mids Could Be The Best Place To See The Solar Eclipse

19 March 2015, 19:17 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

The East Midlands could be the best place in the UK to see the solar eclipse because Leicester and Nottingham are predicted to have the clearest skies.

A near-total eclipse of the sun is set to thrill or disappoint millions because of the patchy cloud about - but we could be some of the lucky ones.

Forecasters believe the Midlands especially Leicester and Nottingham might be treated to the best celestial show as the moon moves in front of the sun at around 9.30am, covering up to 90% of its surface.

But if you want to watch it we're being warned to do it safely - don't look at the sun.

Here is a quick and easy guide to making your own pin hole camera thanks to the team at the National Space Centre in Leicester:

Met Office Say Clear Spells Could Appear Anywhere

Cloud is likely to cover all of the rest of the country, becoming thicker in the north - but no-one can predict when there might be a curtain-raising break in the cloud at any given location in the UK.

A Met Office spokeswoman said: "Forecasting exactly where cloud will break and reform is really not scientifically possible. But it's not as thick in the south as further north, so you're more likely to see breaks in the cloud the further south you are.''

It is not unknown for a fleeting break in cloud to occur during an eclipse as the atmosphere cools.

Despite the cloud, the event is expected to have a significant impact on the National Grid with a predicted loss of 850 megawatts of solar power from the electricity supply network.

Times Vary Across The Country

Around the UK the proportion of the sun covered by the moon will increase towards the north, ranging from 84% in London to 89% in the East Midlands, 93% in Edinburgh, and 97% in Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.

Times will also vary. In the Midlands the eclipse begins at 8.27am, reaches its maximum extent at 9.34am.  For observers in Edinburgh, the eclipse starts at 8.30am and peaks at 9.35 am.

The Next Big Eclipse Won't Be Till 2026

The last solar eclipse of such significance occurred on August 11 1999, and was "total'' - with 100% of the Sun covered - when seen from Cornwall.

Another "deep'' partial eclipse visible in the UK will not occur until August 12, 2026, and the next total eclipse not until September 2090.