, NORWAY, Mar 20 – All eyes will be on the skies Friday for a total solar eclipse expected to offer spectacular views, if only in the far northern Svalbard archipelago and Faroe Islands.
A partial eclipse of varying degrees should also be visible, weather permitting, across most of Europe, northern Africa, central Asia and the Middle East.
On Friday, the moon’s shadow will alight on Earth’s surface at 0741 GMT in the eastern central Atlantic, according to Britain’s Nautical Almanac Office.
Die-hard eclipse junkies have flown in to the Faroe Islands, a Danish autonomous territory, and Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago from around the world to observe the less than three minutes of daytime darkness, a phenomenon that has fascinated mankind since the beginning of time.
More than 8,000 visitors were expected in the Faroes, where the total eclipse is due to begin at 9:41 am (0941 GMT), and some 1,500 to 2,000 were expected in Svalbard, where it should start at 11:11 am (1011 GMT).
“There are a lot of eclipse chasers from all over the place,” Torstein Christiansen from the Faroese tourist office told AFP.
“The majority are from Europe but there are also countries which are not usually on our list, like Australia, New Zealand, the (United) States, Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of 50 Danes have bought tickets aboard a Boeing 737 chartered by a science magazine to watch the event from the skies above the Faroe Islands.