A Northumberland astronomer is set to capture and livestream a rare solar eclipse visible across America next month.

Ellie MacDonald, 26, of Hexham, will fly out to Texas on April 8 on behalf of Kielder Observatory.

The last solar eclipse happened in 1999 and was visible in parts of Cornwall in the UK.

The upcoming eclipse can be sighted in a band of sky from south to north America, and likely won't reoccur for another twenty years.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon travels between the Earth and the sun, blocking the sun's light.

The expected duration of the eclipse is four minutes, although it will take about two hours to reach totality.

Ms MacDonald, a science communicator and science lead at Kielder Observatory, plans to take a planetary camera, a 100mm lens, and her dark eclipses glasses to protect her eyes.

She said: "There will be thousands of people travelling to see it from across the world.

"It will be the first time anyone from Kielder has attempted to livestream it and the first time we’ve tried live streaming from a different country.

"I’ve never seen one before so I’m very excited.

“We decided that Texas would be the best place to get a clear sky, but we’ll be looking at forecasts about five days beforehand and will make a final decision on exactly where to see it later.”

Astronomers at Kielder will be answering questions about the solar event during the livestream.

Dan Monk, director of astrophotography at Kielder, said: "Everybody loves chasing eclipses.

"We have partial solar eclipses every couple of years, and we can see them from the UK, but total eclipses are rare."

In conjunction with livestreaming the eclipse, Ms MacDonald also aims to replicate a landmark experiment by astronomer Arthur Eddington that provided evidence for Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Leigh Venus, chief executive at Kielder, said: "Ellie came up with a brilliant proposal to not only livestream the eclipse but also to recreate this iconic experiment, so we’re thrilled to have her in Texas experiencing and sharing the wonder of this incredible cosmic event."