Upcoming Solar eclipse
This coming Monday (3rd October) there will be an annular eclipse of the Sun. The path of totality passes over Spain and parts of North and East Africa. Lot's of information, including maps of the totality track and timings of the event for various locations around the World, can be found on Fred Espenak's pages at NASA.
During totality in a normal eclipse the Sun is completely hidden. It goes very dark and the corona (the gas around the Sun) can be easily observed. An annular eclipse, however, is one where the Moon is just far enough away from the Earth that it doesn't quite cover the disk of the Sun completely. In this kind of eclipse it doesn't go as dark and the thin ring of the Sun's disk still visible is bright enough to completely wash out the corona.
At Jodrell Bank Observatory we are observing the event, assuming the weather cooperates of course! From the latitude of the Observatory (~53o), the Moon will cover approximately 60% of the Sun's disk at mid-eclipse so we do not see a full eclipse. From our location, first contact, the time when the Moon appears to start cutting in to the Sun's disk, is at 08:49 BST. Mid-eclipse occurs at 10:00 BST. Fourth contact, when the Moon's disk leaves the Sun completely, is at 11:14 BST. At Jodrell, the visitor centre will open at 08:30 BST on the day, earlier than usual so that we don't miss first contact. There will be a talk about eclipses by an astronomer from the Observatory, telescopes set up so visitors can safely view the eclipse by projection (never use a telescope to look at the Sun!), trips to Mars in the 3D theatre, and Ask an Astronomer sessions. If you happen to be nearby, come along and say hello.