Solar eclipse best seen from the north

Stargazers and scientists from across the world are gearing up for a solar eclipse on Friday. In Sweden, the eclipse can be seen from late morning across the country.

Solar eclipse best seen from the north

The eclipse will be up to 80% of the surface of the sun in the far north of Sweden while in the south observers will have to satisfy themselves with only a 40% partial eclipse.

A total solar eclipse is regarded as a spectacular natural phenomenon and many people travel to remote locations of the world to witness one.

Some of the best locations to witness the August 1st 2008 eclipse are indeed remote, with the path of the eclipse cutting north of the Scandinavian peninsula, into Siberia and out through Mongolia and parts of eastern China.

But even a partial eclipse will excite observers as it passes by Stockholm between 10.39-12.46am on Friday. LuleƄ in the far north of Sweden will witness its almost 80 percent eclipse at 11.45am.

The last total solar eclipse occurred on March 29th, 2006 and took a path across the Atlantic Ocean and Africa, out of sight of Sweden.

Solar eclipses were in ancient times thought by many to belong to the supernatural. These beliefs persist in some cultures today.

Sweden will no doubt take a predominantly scientific and rational view of the event but crowds of curious observers will nonetheless leave their desks or holiday slumber and gather at points across the country to take part.

The next full solar eclipse will be on July 22nd 2009. Although this will occur in the Indian sub-continent and China. The next time Sweden will get to witness one is 2126.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth leaving the sun partially or wholly obscured. This can only happen during a new moon, when the sun and moon are in conjunction as seen from the earth.