Solar eclipse: where can you best observe it in France?

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As Charles Trenet said, the Sun has a date with the Moon this Thursday, June 10. It is the sixteenth annular eclipse of the 21st century which will take place at midday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In France, it will be a partial eclipse. For the first time of the year, the Moon will therefore slip between the Sun and the Earth, masking the solar star. As Futura Sciences reports, to witness this annular eclipse, the best place will remain northeastern Canada, northwestern Greenland, the North Pole or the far east of Russia. It will also be possible to partially observe it from northwestern North America, the North Atlantic Ocean, much of Europe and much of Asia.

“At the maximum of the eclipse, we will have a Sun which will not be completely covered by the Moon”, explains to the Huffington Post Florent Deleflie, astronomer at the Paris Observatory. So for us French, the part of the Sun hidden by the Moon will be more or less important depending on where you observe it in France. The eclipse will, for example, reach its maximum this Thursday, June 10 in Paris at 12:12 p.m. No false joy, however, since the Moon will not have eaten up more than 13% of the Sun at that time. The spectacle visible to the naked eye could therefore be disappointing. As the Huffington Post points out, it is the inhabitants of northwestern France, in an area ranging from Brittany to the Hauts-de-France region, who will have the best chance of observing this solar eclipse. It is here that the occulted face of the Sun will be the most important: between 17 and 18%. The percentage of obscuration will even be 17.8% in Brest.

Conversely, if you live in the south-east of France, you risk seeing nothing at all since the Sun will only be obscured between 3 and 5% in the Bouches-du-Rhône, according to La Météo du 13, and only up to 2%, for example, in Nice. It will be even worse for the Corsicans since the percentage of obscuration will be 0.2% in Ajaccio only. In any case, do not expect a huge solar eclipse regardless of where you observe it in France. Indeed, if you do not have an observation instrument, “in metropolitan France, the eclipse is too partial to see a drop in brightness”, warns Florent Delefie at the Huffington Post. “With the naked eye we will see nothing, just a small comma on the solar disk”, assures the astronomer.

Wherever you are, eclipse glasses are essential to observe a solar eclipse in complete safety. Indeed, remember that your eyes are not armed against the infrared and ultraviolet rays given off by the Sun. These can damage your cornea and infrared can cause retinal burns.