Published: 12 March 2015

Surrey looks to the sky

Ahead of the solar eclipse on 20 March, the University turns its attention to the sun and stars.

Friday 20 March will see the last total solar eclipse visible in Europe until 2026. While Guildford will only see a partial eclipse on the day, the University of Surrey is involved in a range of activities related to the natural phenomenon.

"A solar eclipse is not a rare event and on average happens a few times per year, but you need be in the right place on the planet to see it", explained Dr Mark Gieles, Professor of Astrophysics at Surrey. "This time the total eclipse is only visible from the Faroe Island and Svalbard in Norway – here in Surrey, the eclipse is about 90%.”

"The general effect will be like a very dark cloud covering the sun. Not only is this an interesting experience, but also a unique opportunity to study features of the sun.”

Watch the eclipse at Surrey

The University recently celebrated the launch of its £100,000 telescope, which is used by second-year undergraduate students taking astrophysics modules, as well as for learning and outreach programmes and monthly public engagement events.

To tie in with the eclipse, Surrey is hosting a free event for local schools and colleges at the telescope on the day itself. Discover more on Department of Physics website.

‘Astro evening’

On March 18, Surrey’s Astrophysics group hosted the second in a series of ‘astro evenings’. The event was open to the general public and included a lecture (on the theme of ‘eclipse’) and live presentation of the night sky. Members of the Astrophysics group were also on hand during the evening to answer questions.

Discover more about Physics at the University of Surrey.

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