Watch LIVE: Total Solar Eclipse of 20 March 2015

A total solar eclipse is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena to watch. On 20 March at 8:30UT, this nature's beauty will visit Europe and the North Atlantic, allowing millions of people to witness it. Those who have been lucky enough to see a total solar eclipse or even a partial one will agree that it's never really the same to watch it through a computer screen than in person - which I completely agree! However, thanks to dedicated people and groups, we are able to witness it digitally, as it happens, bringing us more closer than we could.

Enjoy the eclipse viewing and if you come across more live webcasts, please drop me a message on comments or via Twitter @ThilinaH

All live web feeds are weather permitting.

From Catalonia, Spain:
A group of observers with the support of RTV10 tv station, will be brodcasting from Sant Esteve Sesrovires in Catalonia, Spain. The group will use a 60mm Lunt Hidrogen-Alfa telescope, equipped with a WATEC 120N+ video camera and a KIWI time inserter. (backup broadcast:

Multiple live feeds from Ireland:
Thanks to School Of Physics at Trinity College Dublin  and partners, there will be streaming live eclipse feeds from Dublin, Armagh and Galway for a better chance of seeing the partial eclipse even considering the high chance of cloud.

From Longyearbyen, near the North Pole:
Norwegian national broadcaster NRK will stream total solar eclipse from Longyearbyen on the archipelago of Svalbard. They will run a two-hour long stream with one camera trailing the Sun during the entire eclipse. (total solar eclipse stream)

SLOOH feed from Faroe Islands:
Starting from 8:30UTC, Slooh expedition team will be broadcasting live images and commentary from the Faroe Islands. (total solar eclipse stream)

Virtual Telescope from Italy:
The Virtual Telescope facility in Italy will be broadcasting with commentary by astrophysicist, Dr. Gianluca Masi. They will also attempt to show other live feeds from different locations across Europe.

Faroese Broadcasting Corporation:
Live from the Faroe Islands in broadcast quality, one camera on the Sun close up, and the other stream be from the TV-station. (backup broadcast: solar eclipse stream)

Shelios and GLORIA:
A team of astronomers will be observing and broadcasting from the Centre for Maritime Studies at the University of the Faroe Islands, located in the archipelago's capital, Torshavn. The event will be transmitted live on two connections. (total solar eclipse stream)

From Denmark:
Live stream coverage of the solar eclipse from Mogens Winther Observatory at AGS, Alssundgymnasiet Sønderborg, Denmark.

Image feed from Austria:
Every 10 seconds, Austrian Solarobservatory Kanzelhöhe will be live feeding images in h-alpha and white light throughout the eclipse.

University of Barcelona:
The Department of Astronomy and Meteorology at the University of Barcelona will broadcast the eclipse from Catalunya, Spain.

Astronomical Association of Sabadell, Spain:
A team at the astronomical association will be streaming a live feed from Sabadell with some commentary (possibly in Spanish).

Ebro Observatory, Spain:
The Ebro Observatory will follow the event live by publishing real-time photos taken with their solar telescope. They will follow this accompanied by 6th grade students in primary school Marcelino Domingo de Roquetas.

MISIÓN ECLIPSE feed from Faroe Islands:
In collaboration with (El Periódico de Catalunya), MISIÓN ECLIPSE will have a live feed from Toshvan, Faroe Islands.  (total solar eclipse stream)

Live Images from Spain:
Real Instituto and Observatorio de la Armada from Spain will have an image feed refreshing every 15 seconds.

Observatory feed from Belgium:
MIRA Public Observatory in Grimbergen, Belgium will host a live feed through one of their telescopes.


Can MOOCs Educate the Developing World?

Here's the larger question: can online classes be used to help not just a few exceptional students, but the developing world at large?

As the guest editor of The Big Future video series by The Verge, Bill Gates discussed this larger question. Gates believes that online courses can bring the world's best teachers to anyone with a smartphone or tablet, for free.

Over at edSurge, a short article discusses Gate's thoughts, "around a third of Coursera’s user base is from the developing world, but nearly 80% of those students already have a college degree--as opposed to 10% of the general population," and adds, "but Gates contends that if MOOCs are geared towards a developing nation’s elite, the courses will only exacerbate the digital divide between haves and have-nots."[1]

In their Foundation's 2015 letter, Bill and Melinda Gates share their bet for next 15 years, "The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else's" and adds further, "Before a child even starts primary school she will be able to use her mom's smartphone to learn her numbers and letters, giving her a big head start. Software will be able to see when she's having trouble with the material and adjust for her pace. She will collaborate with teachers and other students in a much richer way. If she is learning a language, she'll be able to speak out loud and the software will give her feedback on her pronunciation."

Education is the key to everything and MOOC is the way to go to achieve it. However, there's a big hurdle to cross - accessible technology. In order to improve the education through MOOCs, specially in developing world, we need much improvement in accessible technology. If I narrow it down to a developing country that I'm most familiar with - Sri Lanka - is now the best performer in basic education in the South Asian region, with a remarkable record in terms of high literacy rates and the achievement of universal primary education [2]Even though the government of Sri Lanka has heavily invested in information and communications technologies (ICT) for distance learning, the lack of resources, low digital literacy, poor guidance, remains at large a problem to reach the mass population of students. From slow and limited internet access to lack of technological infrastructure remains a problem. These are not only to Sri Lanka, but applicable to many developing countries.

Accessible technology is the key to MOOCs future.


[1] Can online classrooms help the developing world catch up? by Adi Robertson
[2] Developing government policies for distance education: lessons learnt from two Sri Lankan case studies. Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Adams, A. A., Rassool, N. and Williams, S. A. (2014). International Review of Education. doi: 10.1007/s11159-014-9442-0