The solar eclipse on March 20 will create an ‘end of the world’ effect. Experts warn gazers not to look straight at the eclipse as the light can be damaging to the eyes.
In Europe, the solar eclipse will cause 80 percent reduction of sunlight – a source of panic, since 3 percent of electricity supply across European countries come from solar panels. In the UK, people will not see a solar eclipse of its kind until 2090.
In Norway, it was reported that a bear had attacked a camper who wished to witness the eclipse.
Damaging to the Eyes
Americans will not be witnessing the solar eclipse on Friday. Only people from Europe, Africa, Asia and the UK will witness such event, which is not expected to occur within 300 years.
The solar eclipse will be visible at about 9:30am GMT in London and 9:35am GMT in Edinburgh, but the best places to see the spectacle are in Iceland and Norway.
However, experts say the solar eclipse will produce light that can be damaging when viewed by the naked eye.
“Your pupils are wide open, and any small part of the sun is just as bright as the entire sun, so that shock of light can do damage to your eyes,” chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, Derrick Pitts, told BBC.
Germany’s federal office of civil protection and disaster assistance advised people to use special glasses, a projector paper or aluminum to be able to witness the event without having to look directly to the sky.
Three Times As Fast As Sunlight
There is panic across Europe and the UK, because the solar eclipse will result to as much as 80 percent loss of sunlight. Engineers said this poses a great challenge for the European electric grid as loss in sunlight will result to sudden loss of power equivalent to 8 to 10 coal power plants.
According to the Wall Street Journal, solar panels have been providing 3 percent of Europe’s electricity supply for a decade now. In Italy alone, solar energy powers 8 percent of electricity. In Germany, solar energy powers as much as 7 percent. Even the Vatican uses solar panels, WSJ reported.
The solar eclipse will simply block the sun for a few minutes. However, such ‘few minutes’ will already result to a sudden drop of up to 35,000 megawatts of generation capacity, according to WSJ.
Conventional electricity suppliers can temporarily supply electricity to prevent blackouts, but they must immediately shoot down as soon as the sun comes up again. The shift should be immediate, otherwise it will “result in a cascade of electricity blackouts, similar to when a tree falls on a local power line but across the country,” Alessandro Abate told WSJ. He works as a professor at Oxford University’s Department of Computer Science.
Immediate shift from traditional supply to solar panel after eclipses challenges engineers; these shifts would have to happen at a time of day when demand is high, according to Bruno Burger, a solar energy researcher for the Fraunhofer Institute.
“It is above all the sharp return that is causing headaches for the grid operators. It will be the equivalent of a sunrise, but three times as fast,” Burger told The New York Times.
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A Czech tourist, Jakub Moravec, was attacked by a polar bear while camping on a remote Arctic island. The bear dragged Moravec out of his tent and was able to claw his back before retreating upon the sound of gunshots. He was brought to a hospital and has recovered from minor wounds, the Associated Press reported.
“It was going for my head. I used my hands to protect my head,” Moravec told AP.
Moravec, together with his five friends, set up tents on a remote island more than 800 kilometers from the Norwegian mainland. According to AP, there are about thousands of people camping at the site to get a better view of the once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse.
The eclipse will be live streamed via Slooh Community Observatory.
Know more about the solar eclipse.
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