March 20th, 2015
On Friday 20th March 2015, a total solar eclipse will occur across the far Northern regions of Europe and the Artic. The longest duration of totality for this eclipse will be 2 minutes and 46 seconds as viewed off the coast of the Faroe Islands. This will mark the last total solar eclipse in Europe for over a decade. The next not being until August 12, 2026.
The area of totality, where a total eclipse can be observed, lies within a wide corridor sweeping across the Northern Atlantic, North Sea and Norwegian Sea. The Faroe Islands are one of the very few land masses that fall within this corridor. The only other islands in the path of totality are the Svalbard Islands located midway between Norway and the North Pole. Iceland just misses out with the northern edge of the path 50 miles or so off the south eastern coast of the island.
A total eclipse of the Sun can happen on Earth because, although the Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun, it’s also around 400 times closer to the Earth, so its disc can completely fill the disc of the Sun and cause a total solar eclipse. However, the Moon is currently moving away from the Earth at a rate of 3.8 centimeters a year, which means that around 563 million years from now, the Earth will experience its final total solar eclipse as the angular size of the Moon becomes too small to cover the solar disc.