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Germany to catch glimpse of rare partial solar eclipse on Thursday

For the first time in six years, a partial solar eclipse may be spotted over Germany on Thursday afternoon.

Germany to catch glimpse of rare partial solar eclipse on Thursday
A partial solar eclipse, as last spotted in Germany (here in Mainz) on March 20th 2015. picture alliance/dpa | Fredrik von Erichsen

Depending upon the location in Germany, the rare astronomical phenomenon can be best observed between 12:20pm and 12:40pm. 

The Stiftung Planetarium Berlin is also broadcasting a livestream of the rare solar event, which occurs when the moon is directly between the sun and earth. The last partial solar eclipse occurred in Germany in March 2015.

The phenomenon looks as if the sun is missing a piece at the top. The more northern the location, the greater the shadow cast on the sun is.

In the far northern cities of Sylt and in Flensburg, about 20 percent of the sun will be covered, in Hamburg about 17 percent, in Hanover 15 percent, and in Neubrandenburg 13 percent.

In southern Germany, it’s only about six percent.

As reported by the German Weather Service (DWD), the climate during the eclipse will also largely play along: outside of stormy weather in the Alps and low mountain ranges, most of Germany will be cloud-free and sunny on Thursday.

How to view a solar eclipse

Anyone who wants to observe the solar eclipse should under no circumstances look into the sun with the naked eye, but rather use protective glasses.

An unprotected look can lead to visual disturbances, explained Christian Karl Brinkmann, chief physician of the eye clinic in Neubrandenburg. Special solar eclipse glasses are available, for example, in planetariums and from opticians. 

Normal sunglasses or a CD held in front of the eye are not sufficient.

If you want to be on the safe side, you can follow the natural spectacle in a livestream – for example on the websites of the Hamburg Planetarium, the Kiel University of Applied Sciences Observatory or the Berlin Planetarium.

There are a maximum of two to four solar eclipses per year somewhere on earth. The next one to be viewed in Germany will be on October 25th, 2022. The last took place in Argentina in December. 

The German Association of Star Friends (Vereinigung der Sternfreunde) want to distribute photos of the solar eclipse on June 10th under the hashtag #sofi2021 over social media.

Vocabulary

Partial solar eclipse – (die) partielle Sonnenfinsternis 

sight/vision – (das) Sehvermögen

Equipment – (die) Ausrüstung

Safety glasses/goggles – (die) Schutzbrille

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

Germany has regulations on working during a heatwave - but does that also apply to people who work remotely? We take a look.

Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

The number of people working from home shot up during the Covid pandemic, and though employees no longer have the right to work remotely by law, many have chosen to stick with more flexible arrangements and set up a home office at least part of the week.

This is great news for people who enjoy a lie-in more than a long commute, but there are some downsides. One major issue is that it’s not always clear how Germany’s strict employee protection rules actually apply in a home setting. The rules for working during a heatwave are a good example of this.

How does Germany regulate working in extreme heat? 

By law in Germany, employers are responsible for creating a safe environment for their workers. This means that they should try and keep the temperature below 26C at all times and are legally obliged to take action if the temperature goes above 30C. 

That could include putting blinds on the windows to prevent the glare of the sun, installing air conditioning systems or purchasing fans. In some cases – such as outdoor manual labour – it could also involve starting and finishing earlier in the day. 

And in really high temperatures, employers may simply decide to call the whole thing off and give their employees a ‘hitzefrei’ day – basically a heat-induced day off – to go and cool down in a lake. However, business owners are generally given free rein to decide how hot is too hot in this instance (except in the case of vulnerable workers). 

READ ALSO: Hitzefrei: Is it ever legally too hot to go to work or school in Germany?

Do the heat rules apply to ‘home office?’

Unfortunately not. In most cases in Germany, the company isn’t directly involved in setting up the workspace for an employee that works from home, aside from possibly providing a laptop or phone for remote use. 

“The occupational health and safety regulations regarding room temperature do not apply in this case,” labour law expert Meike Brecklinghaus told German business publication T3N. “This is because the employer does not have direct access to the employee’s workplace and in this respect cannot take remedial action.”

That means that on hot days, it’s the employee’s own responsibility to make sure the environment is suitable for working in. 

woman works from home in Germany

A woman works in her living room at home. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Naupold

One duty employers do have, however, is to instruct their workers about the best way to set up a healthy work environment at home, for example by giving guidance on how to regulate the temperature. 

“In the end, it is the employee’s responsibility to maintain his or her workplace in a condition in which he or she can perform his or her work without the threat of health impairments,” Brecklinghaus explained.

What can home office workers do in hot weather?

There are plenty of ways to keep flats cooler in the summer months, including purchasing your own fan, keeping curtains or blinds drawn and ventilating the rooms in the evening or early morning when the weather is cooler.

However, if heat is really becoming a problem, it’s a good idea to communicate this to your employer. This is especially important if you have a health condition that makes it more dangerous to work in hot weather. 

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate for the employer to pay for the purchase of a fan or mobile air conditioner as goodwill gesture. If possible, you could also arrange to travel to the office where the temperature should be better regulated.

Another option for early birds or night owls is to arrange more flexible working hours so you can avoid sweltering at your desk in the midday sun, although this of course depends on operational factors. 

READ ASO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?

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