The deepest solar eclipse since 1999 will take place on March 20, 2015. A solar eclipse as well as a Supermoon, all at the same time is definitely sure to be a dazzling and stunning show for star-gazers, especially in Britain. But, it is also an event that will sink the island into twilight for two whole hours.
Just as God told us, we know that the moon, stars and sun can be read as signs of what is to come for the people on earth (Genesis 1:14). The supermoon eclipse also has greater significance because it appears between four blood moons as shown below.
For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine – Isaiah 13:10 (KJV).
I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering- Isaiah 50:3 (KJV).
For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it- Jeremiah 4:28 (KJV).
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. – Joel 2:31 (KJV).
The Supermoon eclipse, as the phenomenon is known, is an astronomical alignment where the Moon is sent on a trajectory between the Sun and the Earth, depriving us of light. The event will occur on March 20 at around 8:40 GMT.
Scotland will have it best though, with a whopping 98 percent of the sky darkened, compared to about 85 percent for the south of England. For best results the Scottish need to look up starting 9:36 am.
Other areas in Britain will only get around 30 percent.
Similar events took place in 2006, 2008 and 2011, but neither of them can touch the upcoming Supermoon eclipse, except an event that occurred in 1999.
We’ll have to wait three years for the next one in 2018. However, only 2026 will present us with a deep solar eclipse once again. As for the magnitude, it won’t be until 2090 that we get to see anything like the 1999 and upcoming March 20 events.
Whenever particularly striking displays take place, it is because the Moon is close to the Earth. According to Dr Edward Bloomer of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the March eclipse will see the Moon closer to us than it has been in more than 18 years.
The last major solar eclipse happened in August 1999. That was the first total eclipse since 1990 and the first seen in the UK since 1927.
“The Earth is orbiting around the Sun and sometimes is slightly closer and sometimes further away, and the Earth is also wobbling around on its axis,” the Telegraph cites him as saying.
“Likewise the orbit of the Moon around the Earth is elliptical and slightly tilted so it’s rare for the Sun, Earth and Moon to actually line up,” he also said. And when the Moon’s orbit is as close as possible to the Earth’s, we have a total eclipse, Bloomer explains.
That’s when the Supermoon appears, and that is what will take place in Britain in a few days, as our satellite appears to us as an enormous black, glowing orb, shortly before March 20.
The only thing the Brits have to worry about is weather. It can potentially ruin their viewing experience, with the possibility of clouds and rain.
But if skies are clear, another treat for everyone will be the moon itself. With such proximity and lighting conditions, a pair of binoculars will give the viewer surface details that could never be seen with the naked eye.
However, it’s not just the fun factor of such events that is attracting attention. The Brits are afraid it might cause power grid failures as well. The National Grid says around 50 percent of power will be lost throughout the morning hours later in March.
But Britain will remain relatively unscathed, compared to its European neighbors, where up to 10 percent of energy is generated sustainably, meaning they depend more on the sun. According to the UK’s energy body, only 1.5 percent of power there is generated by solar panels. And since people will be going out in droves to watch the spectacle, energy consumption should drop almost at the same time the shortages will strike, it says.
The European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity says, according to the Independent, “with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.”
The eclipse will be the most extreme since the famous one in 1999.
“Within 30 minutes the solar power production would decrease from 17.5 gigawatts to 6.2GW and then increase again up to 24.6GW. This means that within 30 minutes the system will have to adapt to a load change of -10GW to +15GW,” said Patrick Graichen, executive director of the Berlin-based think-tank on renewable energy Agora Energiewende, as cited by the Financial Times.
While the world is only hearing about the Supermoon eclipse now, energy companies have been preparing for the event for months in advance, some in Europe setting up contingency measures for extracting energy from other power stations.
Experts predict that precautionary methods will only increase with time, as more solar energy becomes increasingly commonplace.
“Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures,” said the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, a group that ensures energy is distributed properly across Europe.
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The Supermoon Eclipse also appears in the middle of four blood moons.
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, thatwhosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved -Acts 2:19 -21 (KJV).
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:-Joel 2:10 (KJV).
And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light – Ezekiel 32:7 (KJV).
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise – Revelation 8:12 (KJV).
March 20 is the same date as the equinox – the moon turns new only 14 hours after reaching lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. Thus this moon is a supermoon– a new supermoon, not visible in our sky, but having a larger-than-average effect on Earth’s oceans. Plus this new supermoon swings right in front of the sun so that the moon’s shadow falls on parts of Earth.
Where will be best to see it?
- The blackout will come in the morning of March 20, just as Europe heads into work, putting electricity providers under even more pressure.
- It will begin in the UK at 8.45am. The maximum eclipse, when the moon is nearest the middle of the sun, will be at 9.31am. The event will end at 10.41am. Head north.
- The eclipse will be total – covering the sun entirely – in the Faroe Islands and Norwegian island Svalbard. Those will be the only populated places on Earth where it can be seen in its full darkness.
- But certain parts of Scotland will be almost fully blacked out. The Isle of Lewis, close to Aird Uig, will see the deepest eclipse, and the rest of north-western Scotland will see over 95 per cent coverage.
- The eclipse will get less intense in places further south – though even London will be see about 84 per cent coverage.
How do I watch it?
- You might remember the warnings from 1999: never look straight into the sun. If you do, you can permanently damage the back of your eye – where there are no pain sensors, so you won’t even know that anything’s gone wrong.
- The key thing is to get some kind of dimming lens to watch the eclipse through. These will probably be readily available ahead of the event.
Can I photograph it?
- The same warnings apply: the lens in your camera, just like your eye, can amplify the brightness of the sun and damage it. So it’s important to get a solar filter to keep it safe.
- You can use almost any camera, with a long zoom working best. It’s a good idea to take a number of pictures, because the light can change quickly as the eclipse is happening – the most important thing is to try out different settings and get as many photos as you can.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come – Joel 2:31 (KJV).
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; – Revelation 6:12 (KJV).
For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine -Isaiah 13:10 (KJV).
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree -Isaiah 34:4 (KJV).
I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering – Isaiah 50:31 (KJV).
And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light -Ezekiel 32:7 (KJV).