The 10 Best Places to Watch Friday’s Eclipse. Number 5 Will Get You a Zillion Likes on Instagram…

It hasn't happened for 16 years. Where will you watch it from?

Japan experienced a solar eclipse in 2012

Friday marks a very special celestial event, where the moon’s orbit brings it directly in line with the sun and humanity welcomes the oncoming apocalypse by hollering in satanic darkness. Or, in lieu of the end of the world, people will look a bit silly while wearing eclipse-viewing spectacles.

As the umbraphiles among you will be oh-so-aware, this is the first solar eclipse in the UK since 1999. That event was mainly famous for Cornwall being too cloudy to see the sky.

So in order to minimise the likelihood of Mpora readers gazing at rainclouds come Friday morning, we’ve compiled this list of excellent viewing spots. At least a tenth of you are likely to see something cool, sustaining you until the next partial eclipse hits the country in 2026.

An Mpora Public Service Announcement:

Please remember that solar eclipses are not to be looked at directly, despite that being THE ONLY THING YOU WANT TO DO. John O’Hagan, head of the optical radiation group at Public Health England says: ‘Even if it’s cloudy there’s a risk to your eyesight. Sunglasses won’t give enough protection as although they may reduce the sun’s glare, they allow you to look for longer, allowing more sunlight into the eye.’

One of the main ways to watch the eclipse safely, without destroying your blinkers, is by making a pinhole viewer. For more information on how to watch the eclipse, check out this awesome information leaflet from the Royal Astronomical Society.

Here are those excellent viewing spots:

1. Faroe Islands

Laura Young works at the Met Office (yunno, the people who poop out weather reports). She keeps on telling me that, really, the answer to the question ‘Where is best to watch the eclipse?’ is ‘As north as you can go.’ And I’m not one to argue with an expert. So if you’re a true eclipse chaser that wants to see a total obscuration of the sun, these isles are one of only two places on land to do it.

Where are the Faroe Islands? Around 200 miles north of mainland Scotland. They are an autonomous nation within the Kingdom of Denmark. It’s remote, hella unspoiled and the perfect location for mystical moon-watching. It’s like a really cold New Zealand without any hobbits.

The only problem is that it’s a little bit late to book your flight or ferry. This is where that rich mate of yours with the private jet comes in handy.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.42 GMT

2. Svalbard, Norway

Look, Svalbard is a bad-ass place. It has no sunlight for six months of the year and in 2015, by an act of celestial serendipity, the day that the sun returns is also the day of the total solar eclipse. I know, right? There’s also a high risk of being eaten by a polar bear. Norway is gnarly.

Why go all the way up there? Part of the joy of seeing a total eclipse rather than a partial one is that you’ll be able to view the sun’s corona. That’s the atmosphere around it. It’ll look like a halo around the dark moon, and provides a thematic excuse to get yer drank on.

Time of maximum obscuration: 10.11 GMT

3. Greenwich

Photo: National Maritime Museum, London

If you don’t fancy the air fares and risk of being eaten, you can of course see a slightly tamer version of the eclipse from London town. You’ll see about 85% of the sun covered from the capital, and the best place to go is almost certainly the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

They’re hosting a morning of observation, allowing anyone to use telescopes and solar viewers to look at the sky without destroying their retinas. There will even be members of the observatory’s astronomy team and the Flamsteed Astronomy Society on hand to answer any awesome space questions you might have.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.30 GMT

4. Stonehenge

Astrologers, pagans, witches and wiccans. These are all people and groups that have absolutely terrible internet presences. After a week of trying to find out whether a solar eclipse is of any supernatural significance, I am none-the-wiser.

But there does seem to be a general thread in spirituality that solar eclipses present a moment of strong feminine power… it’s the perfect time to ‘activate my feminine codes of light’ or engage in some ‘spell-casting rituals that tap into these cosmic forces’, apparently.

Regardless of any mystical beliefs you may or may not have, Stonehenge is still a pretty decent bet when it comes to atmosphere, visibility and (most importantly) photographability during the eclipse. The site opens at 9.30am, which is exactly two minutes after peak coverage will be taking place, so you’ll have to sprint from the visitor’s centre. But after that you can chill out at one of England’s most mysterious and wonderful cultural sites. Nailing it.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.28 GMT

5. Eclipse Road, East London

Photo: Google Street View

E13 8LX is hallowed eclipse-viewing ground. In this era of Instagram, do you really need a better reason to go somewhere than its excellent photo opportunities? No. You’ll probably also be featured on the front of every damn newspaper in the country. There’s also an Eclipse road in Alcester, Warwickshire and Feniscowles near Blackburn and an Eclipse street in Cardiff.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.30 GMT

6. Isle of Lewis

In the UK, the best place to be is the Isle of Lewis. That’s part of the Hebrides, to the north west of mainland Scotland, in an area best known to the general public as where the BBC once abandoned Ben Fogle.

You’re looking at around 98% of the sun being obscured in this part of the country, and because it’s a bit easier to get to than the Shetland islands (97% coverage) it’s sure to be full of lunar-obsessed tourists. The Stornaway Astronomical Society will be holding a public viewing and, we assume, the most crunk afterparty.

It’s not cheap (currently around £400), but you can fly to Stornaway from numerous Scottish airports and there are still seats. There are also various ferry and boat services available.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.36 GMT

7. Edinburgh

If you want to stick to the mainland, Inverness (95% coverage) or Aberdeen (94%) will give you the best coverage. But to be honest, we reckon Edinburgh (93%) provides the best coverage-to-effort-of-getting-there-ratio. All you really need for a decent view is good weather (say a prayer to your chosen deity), and a clear view of the skyline. Get yerself to the Scottish capital and get climbing – Calton Hill (above) would make a great viewing platform, for instance.

And just in case you didn’t know, Edinburgh has some brilliant pubs. Just. Sayin’.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.35 GMT

8. Giant’s Causeway

At the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland you’ll see around 94% of the sun obscured, in one of the UK’s most scenic spots. More recently used as a filming location for Game of Thrones and stoner-flick Your Highness, this spot on the northern coast of the country is home to lots of weird, hexagonal rocks once formed by a volcanic eruption and/or mythical giants.

It looks properly amazing at sunrise, so we can’t think of anywhere better to watch the freaky nighttime roll in. You can catch a plane to Belfast and a bus from there, or you can rail and sail to the isle for £50 or less.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.30 GMT

9. Neskaupstadur, Iceland

Another part of the world that will receive the treat of a partial eclipse is Iceland, with Neskaupstadur on the country’s east coast setting up for lunar coverage of 99.64%. Shit is gonna get dark. It’s also a fantastic excuse to visit Iceland more generally, with its famous geysers and beautiful landscapes. And if you want to be in the hubbub, the capital Reykjavik will see a 98% eclipse.

Time of maximum obscuration: 09.42 GMT

10. A plane over the Arctic Ocean

The dream is to be on a plane, north-west of the Faroe Islands, wearing a pair of eclipse-viewing glasses (currently free with the BBC’s Sky At Night magazine), drinking a glass of champagne and joining the mile high club. This is not a good option if you don’t appreciate ostentation, or you are not extravagantly rich. It is a great option if you happen to be a hip hop superstar.

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