Solar glasses for skypark schoolkids

School pupils from Kells Primary School in New Galloway try out their solar glasses in advance of the solar eclipse.
School pupils from Kells Primary School in New Galloway try out their solar glasses in advance of the solar eclipse.

Over 4,500 school pupils in and surrounding the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park area have been given special glasses to help them watch the total eclipse.

Forestry Commission Scotland organised for 31 schools to be supplied with the solar viewing glasses to boost their learning in astronomy and raise awareness of the Dark Sky Park.

Even though the sunlight will be diminshed by the solar eclipse it is still extremely dangerous to look directly at the sun with the naked eye.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon is aligned and at the correct distance from the earth so that it blocks light from the Sun.

In Scotland, a 98% eclipse is possible which could turn day into dusk. This eclipse, which is rare for the UK, is going to occur on the morning of Friday 20th March.

Keith Muir of Forestry Commission Scotland in Galloway said: “This is an amazing event and a great opportunity for school children and adults to get more involved with stargazing.

“The total solar eclipse may only be witnessed a few times in a lifetime so we hope to make the most of it with our chosen schools.

“If the weather is favourable then we could see the start of the eclipse around 7.30am, with it reaching its peak at 9.45am. We hope many people join in and watch this solar event.”

Forestry Commission Scotland will be updating its Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park website with advice on watching the solar eclipse.

Zane Gray, deputy Head teacher at Dalry secondary added: “The children and teaching staff at the Dalry secondary, Carsphairn and Kells primary schools were delighted to receive the solar glasses. It is a great opportunity for the children to view the solar eclipse safely, in what will be a memorable learning experience for them.”

The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.