Sunday will see the only solar eclipse this year but it’s not visible everywhere

From Glastonbury to Burning Man, 2021 has seen plenty of major events cancelled. But the biggest one of them all is still yet to take place.

The year's only total solar eclipse is due to take place in space this weekend, on Sunday December 4. It will see the Moon obscure the Sun completely for a number of minutes.

Solar eclipses usually take place several times per year, but this will be the only cosmic event of its kind this year.

Last year there were six solar eclipses throughout the year, with the biggest taking place in June.

It saw the Sun turn into a complete ring in what is called an 'annular' eclipse.

Sadly, it won't be visible from Europe.

Stargazers in the Southern Hemisphere on the other hand will be able to enjoy the cosmic event, including South Africa, South America, South Australia and the Indian Ocean.

The UK won't get to enjoy another eclipse until 16 May 2022, when a lunar eclipse will see the Moon disappear in the shadow of the Earth.

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How to safely enjoy a solar eclipse

Solar eclipses are certainly jaw-dropping, but they can cause significant damage to your eyesight if stared at directly.

If you're lucky enough to witness this weekend's eclipse, here's how you can watch it safely:

  • Never look directly at a solar eclipse – it is still just as bright as the Sun and can permanently harm your eyes
  • Wear special solar eclipse glasses – these are coated in a special plastic that will protect your vision from the brightness of the sun
  • If you don't have special glasses, you can cut a small hole in a piece of cardboard and hold it next to a wall. It will project the image of the eclipse through the hole so you can look at it safely

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If you need help finding an eclipse, there are plenty of great mobile apps that will help you locate it and track precise timings no matter where you are.

The official NASA app will give you notifications of a solar eclipse as well as mission updates, satellite tracking, and sightings of the International Space Station. Download it on Android or iOS

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