Press Releases

Observing the Partial Solar Eclipse at National Museum Cardiff

Don’t miss a rare opportunity to see a partial eclipse of the Sun, visible in Cardiff on Friday 20 March. Cardiff University, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum of Wales and the Institute of Physics are teaming up to ensure you can watch this wonderful phenomenon safely, with experts on hand. There are also a series of talks at National Museum Cardiff on Thursday 19 March to celebrate the event.

From around 8:30am, the Moon will start to pass in front of the Sun. Although it won't completely obscure the Sun as seen from Cardiff, at around 9:30am the Moon will appear to cover around 85% of the Sun's disk. The drop in brightness will be noticeable, though it should not be viewed directly without extreme caution.

When observing the Sun, even during eclipse, safety is paramount – the Sun is bright enough to cause serious and permanent damage to eyesight if not viewed safely. To watch the eclipse safely, visitors are invited to come along to the steps of National Museum Cardiff, between 8:30am and 10:30am on Friday morning. Members of Amgueddfa Cymru -  National Museum Wales, Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Physics will be watching the event using specially-designed telescopes, solar projection kits and eclipse glasses. Come and join us!

If viewing the eclipse, at home, school or work, the safest way is to project an image of the Sun. This can be achieved using a simple pinhole camera, or even something as basic as a colander to project the image onto a wall or a piece of card.

Dr Chris North, Research Associate at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said:

 “Eclipses are one of the most dramatic events in astronomy, and well worth catching. Even though we won't see the total eclipse from Cardiff, the partial eclipse will be very striking - even through thin cloud.”

In a further celebration of this rare event, National Museum Cardiff will be hosting a series of talks on Thursday 19 March from 7:00 pm - 9:30pm. Members of Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy will present a series of talks about the Sun, and what we can learn from eclipses.

Entry is free, and the talks will be suitable ages 12 upwards.

Entry to National Museum Cardiff is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. 

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.  

– Ends –

Note to Editors:

  • ·         Although the Moon orbits the Earth once every month, its orbit is tilted slightly, so it only passes in front of the Sun a couple of times per year – and even then the alignment is only viewable for a short period from small areas of the Earth's surface. The last total eclipse, where the Moon blocks out the entire disc of the Sun, that was visible from the UK occurred in August 1999.


  • ·         Safety warning 

Observing the Sun directly can be dangerous.

NEVER look at the Sun without eye protection or through any optical equipment (telescopes, binoculars, camera viewfinders) unless it has been properly modified.

Even “eclipse glasses”, if marked or damaged, can cause severe eye injury. Always check for damage first, and supervise children when using them.

Filming or photographing the Sun with a digital camera or camera phone may damage the camera.


  • ·         The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application. 

They engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, they are world leaders in professional scientific communications.

In September 2013, they launched their first fundraising campaign. Their campaign, Opportunity Physics, offers people the chance to support the work that they do. 

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