Solar eclipse

Partial solar eclipse: How and where to watch in France

A total solar eclipse, as seen from the beach of Ternate island, Indonesia, March 9, 2016.
A total solar eclipse, as seen from the beach of Ternate island, Indonesia, March 9, 2016. Reuters

A "ring of fire" solar eclipse, where the moon obscures the Sun, will occur over parts of the Northern Hemisphere on Thursday. The eclipse will only be partial in France but remains dangerous to observe with the naked eye. Visible from late morning, here's how and where to observe the phenomenon.


The "ring of fire", or annular eclipse will be visible from Canada to Siberia, stretching over Europe and the United Kingdom.

Sky gazers at the highest latitudes in the North Pole, the north-west of Canada and Greenland and the far-north of Russia will see nearly 90 percent of the sun obscured, according to the Paris-PSL Observatory.



What time in France? 

In France, the dark disc of the moon will begin to move in front of the Sun around 11am local time (0900 GMT) and last about two hours, with the maximum eclipse expected between 11:55am and 12:20pm.

If the sky is clear, enthusiasts will be able to observe a fraction of the Sun blacked out by the moon: around 16 percent in Lille, 13 percent in Paris and about 5 percent in Toulouse. In south-eastern parts of France, only around 3 percent will be obscured. 

Dangerous for the eyes 

During an eclipse, and in general, it is important to remember not to look directly at the Sun, even with sunglasses or through cloud cover. "Burns to the retina can be irreversible," warns Florent Deleflie from the Paris Observatory.

Those who wish to observe the phenomenon should use glasses bought from astronomy stores (and beware of used eclipse glasses), or view it indirectly via a pinhole projector

This is the first annular eclipse of 2021, and the sixteenth of the 21st century. This astronomical phenomenon occurs during the new moon period, when Earth, Moon and Sun are perfectly aligned.

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