Mysterious Winds of the Solar Eclipse – Strange and Eerie!
Unusual weather and wind conditions may occur during Friday’s (20th March) partial solar eclipse which will obscure between 84 and 97% of sunlight as the moon crosses the sun face and a shadow is cast over the Earth.
During the partial solar eclipse of 1999 the wind speed and direction both changed, an average drop of 3 degrees C occurred in the air temperature in what has been described as an “eclipse wind”. In Cornwall observers reported experiencing mysterious, eerie eclipse winds. Scientists believe this was a result of the drop in air temperature.
This Friday’s eclipse when the moon’s orbit will see it travel in front of the sun, casting a shadow over Earth is expected to start around 8.24am in London and will peak at around 9.31am. It is due to end at 10.41 am.
The Shetland Isles will enjoy 97% eclipse coverage, and the skies are expected to become dark enough to require car headlights being turned on in regions experiencing 95%+ coverage. This will be the first rush-hour eclipse so drivers eyeballing the partial solar eclipse should take extra care to avoid crashes! Scotland will enjoy 94% coverage of the sun, London 84% and Manchester 89%.
Solar eclipse- created electricity blackouts across Europe
Whilst Britain obtains only 1.5% of its energy from solar power and therefore should not experience undue problems, approximately 3% of Europe’s total energy supply is obtained from solar power. The temporary dip in light due to the solar eclipse could lead to electricity black-outs across Europe as solar power grids battle to handle this. Although solar panels do turn off at night, the light dip is much more gradual than it will be during the solar eclipse. When they will probably not only power-down but also shut down altogether in full and well-timed synchronisation. It is planned that in order to counteract this situation extra electric from alternative power stations will be utilised.
Night time shut-downs do not usually pose problems because demand for electric is much less at this time, but the morning solar eclipse will hit right in the middle of peak time usage. – European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E)
“35,000 MW of solar energy will fade from Europe’s electricity systems, before being gradually re-injected. This will be ‘all in the space of two hours.” European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E)
During the solar eclipse of 1999 solar energy was not a widespread energy source so there is no previous experience to draw on regarding Friday’s eclipse and its impact on the power grids. Studying the effects on the solar panels and the power grids coping mechanisms during the eclipse will hopefully provide the necessary information required for future protection against grid instability issues.
The End of the World! NOT!!
The end of the world will not be occurring on Friday morning! Contrary to the suggestion of a certain religious individual the world will still be functioning very nicely and will still be happily in existence despite the solar eclipse! We will all live to see another day…another sunrise and another sunset! No need to panic!!