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Home* News and Stories → Solar eclipse in March attracts visitors to Spitsbergen

Solar eclipse in March attracts visitors to Spitsbergen

Those who stay in Spitsbergen on March 20th will have the rare opportunity to enjoy the event of a total solar eclipse. At 10:11 a.m. and 51 seconds in the sky above Longyearbyen the moon starts to move in a position between sun and earth. Almost one hour later the sky will turn dark for 2 minutes and 27 seconds as the moon obscures the image of the sun completely. All in all the event lasts a little longer than 2 hours. On March 20th the moon´s shadow will move over the North Atlantic in a curve between Iceland and Norway over the Faroe Islands to Spitsbergen and further towards the North Pole.

A total eclipse of the sun is an extremely rare natural phenomenon. In 2008 it occurred above the remote island of Kvitøya, north-east of Spitsbergen and the next one above Spitsbergen will be in 2061.

Meanwhile Longyearbyen prepares for a particularly high number of visitors, wishing to witness the spectacle in March. Spitsbergen Travel, the biggest hotel operator in Longyearbyen, did already in 2006 make reservations for their whole contingent of 528 beds with only a single tour operator. Altogether 820 beds at hotels and guesthouses are available. In addition there are apartments and cabins which are rented privately – and then there will still be the camping ground…

Due to the high demand there are by now private apartments offered for extraordinary high prices up to 100.000 kroner (ca. 11.560 Euro) for 5 days. Another bottleneck is the number of flights. On the days before the solar eclipse 6 additional flights to Longyearbyen were established.

Solar eclipse in Spitzbergen in 2008.

Solar eclipse Spitsbergen

last modification: 2015-02-17 · copyright: Rolf Stange