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Solar eclipse echoes astronomical events during Richard IIIs time

This Friday’s solar eclipse has as much relevance to Ricardians as it does for countless astronomers and stargazers across the globe.

A rare astral event - a solar eclipse - which took place 530-years-ago today (March 16) would have been seen by Richard III, who would have looked up and seen the sky darken as the Moon passed between the Earth and the Sun.

But for Richard it was a dark day for more than one reason - it was also the day his wife Anne Neville died. This Friday, astronomers will look to the heavens and see the same astral phenomenon occurring again.

A second cosmological occurrence - which is just as poignant - took place following the warrior king’s death at Bosworth.

As Richard’s defeated body lay beneath the arches of the Church of the Annunciation, in Leicester, it is believed that a blood-red moon shone down on his battle-scarred corpse.

Historical reports of these two eclipses can be accurately verified, says Professor Paul O'Brien from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Our space scientists will also be taking part in Stargazing Live to mark the solar eclipse on 20 March by demonstrating some of their out-of-this-world research – including how they located and identified Beagle 2 on Mars.

A free day of family-friendly activities celebrating the University of Leicester’s research, discovery and identification of Richard III will be held on Saturday 21 March.  Free interactive and hands-on workshops and talks take place from 10am – 4pm at the University of Leicester campus and the experts involved in the discovery and identification of the remains will be available to speak to media about their work. For more information, visit the website or contact er134@le.ac.uk to arrange media interviews.

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