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Woodcote Primary School


The Solar Eclipse Friday 20th March 9.30 am

Dear Parents,

I am writing to you with regard to the partial solar eclipse that will occur this Friday 20th March. This event is quite rare, starting at 8.30 am and lasting until approx. 10.30 am, with the next major eclipse being in 2026. On Friday the moon will pass in front of the sun reaching a maximum by blocking out 90% of the disc at 9.30 am, causing a temporary darkness.


Nobody should ever under any circumstances look directly at the sun or look at the sun through any optical instruments such as telescopes or binoculars, even when the eclipse is at its greatest. The sun is so bright that just looking at it can blind you. Sunglasses do not provide adequate protection. The sun gives off infra-red and ultra-violet radiation that will cause blindness if it is looked at directly.


The event will occur during the first part of our school morning and, weather permitting, the whole school will be outside making observations. Of course we are keen for the children to experience the phenomenon first hand, which they will be able to do under strict supervision using one of the four methods below:


1. The simplest method to observe the eclipse is with a pinhole viewer which we will make on Friday. It is made with a small hole in a piece of card and, standing with your back against the sun, projecting the image onto another piece of card. Children will not look through the pinhole at the sun, but only at the projected image.
2. BBC Stargazing live will be broadcasting the event live on their website and TV.
3. Projecting the image onto a piece of white card through a lens such as a pair of binoculars. Again, children will not look at the sun directly.
4. Using Eclipse viewing glasses, however they must be CE certified and be checked for holes and scratches, as they must only be used if undamaged. Be sure to look away from the direction of the sun before putting eclipse shades on or taking them off. (The current edition of the BBC Sky at Night magazine has a free pair of the safety specs.)


The school has purchased enough pairs of Eclipse Viewing Glasses from Jodrell Bank so that all pupils will be able to see the eclipse safely. They will be supervised and instructed on their use throughout the event.


I hope that the weather is on our side and that we will all be able to enjoy and experience this rare spectacle safely together. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.


Further information can be found on the following websites:

Kind regards,

Liz Hunt