Friday morning will see a partial eclipse of the sun over the UK. So what does the weather have in store?
There is expected to be a lot of cloud around for Friday morning. There may be some clearer spells across central England, Wales and the south west England, with a chance of some breaks in the cloud either side of this.
It looks like Southern England, Northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland will have cloud and this will be thicker the further north you go.
Check out the expected cloud cover in your area on our cloud map.
If you’re interested in seeing the eclipse, it’s worth heading out to take a look regardless of the weather. If it’s cloudy it’ll still get noticeably darker as the moon passes in front of the sun, and you may just get a better look if the cloud thins or a small break in the clouds appears at the right time – but do remember to use appropriate viewing equipment.
Will the Eclipse affect Space Weather?
Earlier in the week we saw the biggest solar storm in 11 years which led to sightings of the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, as far south as Somerset. The solar storm was caused by a large explosion on the Sun on Sunday (15 March) throwing huge amounts of the Sun’s atmosphere into space. This mass of atmosphere carries with it part of the Sun’s magnetic field and is called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
The eclipse won’t have an impact on the space weather we experience, however it will give scientists an opportunity to study the corona of the Sun in more detail. The detail within the corona is only visible when the extremely bright light from the Sun is obscured during an eclipse. A number of instruments used for monitoring the Sun for space weather forecasting, such as the LASCO instrument on the SOHO satellite, produce an artificial eclipse by placing an obscurer in front of the solar disc. This produces images like the one below showing a ‘streamer’ to the left of the Sun and a twisted magnetic structure within a coronal mass ejection on the right.
In the image, the position of the Sun is indicated by the white circle, with a larger obscurer blocking out the bright light from the Sun exposing the finer and fainter structures.
Now then. I complained to the Daily Telegraph about their “science ditor” writing about ‘magnetically charged’ particles, and they referred me to this blog post.
As far as I am aware a magnetic monople is entirely mythical. Could you explain exactly what a ‘magnetically charged’ particle is?
As space weather forecasting is still in its infancy we are still learning how best to communicate this in terms the public will understand. It is difficult to explain the mechanics of plasma physics and magnetic flux ropes in a short blog. We have updated the blog removing the expression “magnetically charged”.