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Silhouette of a person looking at a solar eclipse

When is the next solar eclipse in the UK? 

In April 2024, people across North America were thrilled to experience a total solar eclipse. But how long will we have to wait to see one (or any other kind of solar eclipse) in the UK?


On 8th April 2024, parts of Canada, the USA and Mexico experienced a total solar eclipse. Briefly, the Moon was completely between the Sun and the Earth, bringing darkness for up to four and a half minutes in some places.

This total solar eclipse was an exciting event, but it will not be repeated in North America any time soon. The next total eclipse to reach the USA will be in 2033, which will only affect parts of Alaska. Canada and Mexico will not see theirs until even later.

How about the UK, then? When was our last eclipse, and when will our next one be?

Read on to learn all about partial and total solar eclipses in the UK in the recent past and the future.

Types of solar eclipses

First, let’s talk about what solar eclipses are and why they are not all the same.

In a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, blocking out at least some of the Sun. However, there are differences in how much of the Sun is obscured.

There are three main types of solar eclipses:

  • A total solar eclipse, where the Moon completely obscures the Sun. For a total solar eclipse to happen, the Moon needs to appear to be as large as the Sun. Therefore, it needs to be near the perigee, which is the closest point of its orbit to the Earth.
  • An annular solar eclipse, where the Moon is in front of the Sun but appears too small to completely obscure it. This happens when the Moon is slightly farther away from the Earth in its orbit and therefore looks a little smaller. An annular solar eclipse might look like a ‘ring of fire’ or a bright circle around the Moon.
  • A partial solar eclipse, when the Moon partly passes in front of the Sun, leaving a crescent-shaped part of the Sun visible.

Duration of total solar eclipses

Just as eclipses can come in different types, they can also have different durations. Obviously, a longer total eclipse is more exciting than a very brief one. The Sun can be totally eclipsed for as little as 10 seconds or as long as seven and a half minutes, according to NASA.

As we have mentioned, April’s total solar eclipse in North America lasted up to four and a half minutes. That is considered pretty long. But on 16th July 2186, the Earth will see its longest total eclipse in 12,000 years – lasting almost the full seven and a half minutes.

When was the UK’s last total solar eclipse?

The last total solar eclipse in the UK happened 25 years ago, on 11th August 1999. To be specific, only Cornwall was in the path of the total solar eclipse. This was also a significantly shorter eclipse, with totality lasting less than two and a half minutes.

It is also worth mentioning that on 20th March 2015, the UK saw a very deep partial eclipse. In England’s Southeast, 83% of the Sun was covered.

When is the UK’s next total solar eclipse?

Unfortunately, we will have to wait a long time. The UK will not see its next total solar eclipse until 23rd September 2090. When the eclipse does come, it should last a little over three and a half minutes.

When is the UK’s next partial solar eclipse?

There are two partial eclipses coming to the UK a lot closer in the future.

The first is due to come on 29th March 2025 – but it won’t be a very impressive one. Only about a third of the Sun will be obscured.

The next partial solar eclipse should be more exciting. It will come on 12th August 2026, and this time around 90% of the Sun should be covered for over two minutes.

When is the next total solar eclipse anywhere in the world?

The world's next total solar eclipse is the same eclipse that's happening on 12th August 2026, but the UK is unfortunately not in the path of totality. Only Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Spain will get a total solar eclipse on this date.

To learn more about eclipses, take a look at our article on the Battle of Isandlwana, during which an eclipse occurred. Or read about the Antikythera Mechanism, a creation of the Ancient Greeks that could predict eclipses.