The end of this week will see a total solar eclipse, the first since late in 2013, but this one will be visible in only a small part of the world, experts say.

On Friday the 290-mile-wide path of the eclipse, as the moon completely obscures the disk of the sun, will pass mostly over the North Atlantic Ocean and into the Arctic Ocean.

The eclipse will begin off the southern tip of Greenland then move to the northeast, passing between Iceland and Great Britain, before ending just short of the North Pole.

Most of Europe will see only a partial eclipse; as it traces its path over the ocean waters, only two small areas of land will see a total eclipse: the Danish owned Faroe Islands, and the Norwegian Svalbard island group.

On Spitsbergen, the largest of the Svalbard islands, the total eclipse will last for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Eclipse-watchers journeying to those spots will face a roll of the dice as far as weather goes; stormy skies are common in the North Atlantic in March. Forecasters say there's only a 20 percent chance of clear skies in the Faroe Islands and just a 34 percent chance at Spitsbergen.

The eclipse will occur just hours ahead of the March equinox, which marks the start of spring in the northern hemisphere.

Solar eclipses occurring on the vernal equinox are rare, with the last total eclipse to coincide with the equinox taking place in 1662.

The wait for the next such occurrence won't be quite as long, with a total eclipse on the northern equinox expected in 2034.

Eclipse buffs around the world will have a chance to experience it courtesy of several online sites that will track the phenomenon.

Astronomia Practica says it will post photos in near real time of the eclipse from northern Scotland, while the community observatory Slooh.com and the Virtual Telescope Project will stream live coverage of the eclipse.

Although sky watchers in North America and the Pacific region will miss out on direct observations of this eclipse, they can look forward to a total lunar eclipse on April 4 and then a total solar eclipse on August 21 that will be visible from the U.S.

An interactive map of the path of the March 20 eclipse, courtesy of Google Maps, is being hosted on a NASA eclipse website.

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