On March 20, 2015 – 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. From high northern latitudes (near Greenland and Iceland), there is a total eclipse of the sun. A much larger swath of the world gets to see varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse (Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East and northwestern Asia).

What is a supermoon?

Remember to use proper eye protection if you want to observe this eclipse. The photo at the top of this post – by Flickr user David – shows how to safely watch a partial solar eclipse by the projection method.

Note on the worldwide map below that the path of totality (in blue) passes mainly over the frigid waters of North Atlantic Ocean. The path of totality starts at sunrise to the south of Greenland, circles to the east of Greenland and Iceland at midday, and ends to the north of Greenland at sunset. The best spots to watch this total solar eclipse from land are the Faroe Islands and the Svalbard archipelago, which reside right on the semi-circle path of totality.

The path of the total solar eclipse (in blue) starts to the south of Greenland at sunrise and ends to the north of Greenland at sunset. A much larger part of the word (Greenland, Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East and northwestern Asia get to see a partial solar eclipse. Image via NASA eclipse web site

Total eclipse times from land on March 20, 2015

Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Partial solar eclipse begins: 8:39 a.m. Western European Time (WET)

Total solar eclipse begins: 9:41 a.m. WET

Maximum eclipse: 9:42 a.m. WET

Total solar eclipse ends: 9:43 a.m. WET

Partial solar eclipse ends: 10:48 a.m. WET

Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Partial solar eclipse begins: 10:12 a.m. Central European Time (CET)

Total solar eclipse begins: 11:11 a.m. CET

Maximum eclipse: 11:12 a.m. CET

Total solar eclipse ends: 11:13 a.m. CET

Partial solar eclipse ends: 12:12 a.m. CET

Source: TimeandDate.com

You can obtain specific information on the partial eclipse in your part of the world at the following sites listed below. Most of these pages give the eclipse times in Universal Time, meaning you must convert Universal Time into your time. Below these links we list the local times of the partial solar eclipse for chosen localities in the eclipse zone.

TimeandDate.com – gives eclipse times in local time

HM Nautical Almanac – eclipse animations for 534 localities

Interactive Google map – information is just a click away

Solar eclipse computer – courtesy of the US Naval observatory

Partial solar eclipse in local time

Reykjavik, Iceland

Solar eclipse begins: 8:38 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Greatest eclipse: 9:37 a.m. GMT

Solar eclipse ends: 10:39 a.m. GMT

Maximum obscuration of solar disk: 98%

London, England

Solar eclipse begins: 8:25 a.m. Central European Time (GMT)

Greatest eclipse: 9:31 a.m. GMT

Solar eclipse ends: 10:41 a.m. GMT

Maximum obscuration of solar disk: 53%

Algiers, Algeria

Solar eclipse begins: 9:06 a.m. Central European Time (CET)

Greatest eclipse: 10:11 a.m. CET

Solar eclipse ends: 11:20 a.m. CET

Maximum obscuration of solar disk: 53%

Istanbul, Turkey

Solar eclipse begins: 10:53 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET)

Greatest eclipse: 11:57 a.m. EET

Solar eclipse ends: 1:02 p.m. EET

Maximum obscuration of solar disk: 32%

Moscow, Russia

Solar eclipse begins: 12:13 p.m. Moscow Standard Time (MST)

Greatest eclipse: 1:20 p.m. MST

Solar eclipse ends: 2:27 p.m. MST

Maximum obscuration of solar disk: 58%

 

via Supermoon causes total eclipse of equinox sun on March 20 | Tonight | EarthSky.

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