Eclipse viewing events to be held nation wide

Canadians will throw various viewing events for the partial eclipse across the country

Canadians across the country will be donning special glasses and looking to the sky to take in a partial solar eclipse today.

Unlike the U.S., Canada won’t see a total solar eclipse, where the moon completely covers the sun, blacking out the sky and turning day into night momentarily.

But Canadians are still in for a celestial show and viewing events are planned across the country, ranging from gatherings at the University of British Columbia to Irving Nature Park in Saint John, N.B.

Jennifer West of the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics explains that a partial eclipse looks like a “huge bite taken out of the sun.”

Victoria is expected to get the best view of the rare celestial event, with 90 per cent of the sun blocked out above the British Columbia capital. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada says Toronto will enjoy 70 per cent coverage, Calgary 77 per cent and Vancouver 86 per cent.

No matter where Canadians take in the event, they’re being cautioned to wear eclipse glasses to prevent serious eye damage.

Maggie Bockus, a retired school teacher in Saint John, N.B., said she expects watching the eclipse will make her feel “humble.”

“You think what you are doing is so important and then you look up and see the sun and the moon,” she said. “You are less than a grain of salt…against this backdrop of majesty and power.”

At Science World in Vancouver, a free event is being hosted on the grass outside the centre where eclipse glasses will be provided and volunteers from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will have solar telescopes, which have a filter that allows viewers to safely look at the sun.

The eclipse is expected to begin in Vancouver at around 9:40 a.m. local time, peak at 10:20 a.m., and the shadow should pass at 11:20 a.m., said Kat Kelly, a science facilitator at the centre.

“It creates a really eerie, kind of twilight effect,” she said. “It can actually affect birds and animals. They find it kind of strange. Things get very quiet. It’s just a really, really beautiful sight.”

At the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver’s astronomy museum, the centre’s astronomer, Derek Kief, said he’s looking forward to seeing night features in the daytime.

“I’m hoping to be able to see Venus, definitely, but also to be able to see Mars and potentially even some of the stars,” he said.

But Jaymie Matthews, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of British Columbia, was skeptical that planets would be visible in Vancouver during the eclipse.

Matthews said he’s looking forward to seeing people’s reactions to the eclipse. The university is inviting visitors to join professors and students to observe the event with eclipse viewers and telescopes, while a live stream of the total eclipse will be presented inside the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre.

In Toronto, the Dunlap Institute will be hosting a watching party at the Canadian National Exhibition, where about 20 astronomers will be at hand with solar telescopes and eclipse glasses.

The City of Toronto is clearing its outdoor pools for half an hour during the peak of the eclipse — between 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. local time — due to low sunlight levels.

Windsor, Ont., is also closing its six outdoor pools because of the eclipse. The city’s aquatics manager says it’s a precautionary move due to the fact swimmers would be unlikely to resist looking up at the sky, even without protective eyewear.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Freezing rain expected on the Coquihalla

Wet weather expected to cause issues on B.C. highways

New Central Okanagan school district office behind schedule

New building now expected to be completed by February 2018

Basement fire quickly extinguished

Fire crews quickly extinguished a basement fire at a home in Kelowna

West Kelowna neighbourhood fed up with criminal activity

Prowler frustrating West Kelowna residents

Kelowna motel robbed, suspect sought

The suspect threatened to harm the lone front desk clerk and demanded money.

Accident at Highway 97 near airport

Fire crews and ambulance officials have responded to the scene

LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

“These are all the organizations that perpetrated past discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

B.C. mining company stakes claim in Australia

Copper Mountain is set to purchase Cloncurry Copper Project in a $93-million deal.

Serious home invasion reported in Kamloops

Two people are in hospital with serious injuries following a home invasion

Annett finishes season on the podium at Ironman Arizona

Penticton triathlete sets new course record on the bike

Cash donations create purchasing power

Salvation Army and food banks stretch a donated dollar a long way

Hergott: A pedestrian’s legal obligation

Lawyer Paul Hergott questions the moral obligation of pedestrians and motorists

Huskies grab valley title in thriller over Bears

OKM defeats Boucherie in five-setter in Okanagan AAA final, both teams head to provincials

Most Read