Total solar eclipse Monday, April 8. Mark your diary, electronic or otherwise (otherwise, for me).
 
The moon will cross the face of the sun with a total solar eclipse across 4 Mexican states, 15 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces, allowing around 40 million people to witness this “celestial spectacle”.

Depending on exactly where you are, from when the moon first takes a nip out of the solar disk—to when it completely leaves, can be up to about 2 hours 40 minutes.  The breathtakingly spectacular period of “totality”—where the sun is completely hidden by the moon happens in the exact middle of this period—and this totality will be up to about 4.5 minutes, again depending on exactly where you are.

The moon’s shadow, for us here on Earth, will be about 150 kilometres in diameter—and the best place to be is smack in the middle of that round shadow.

Here in Ottawa, we’ll experience a partial solar eclipse (98.87%) (maybe more due to all the hot air emanating from Parliament?)—while other parts of Canada (on the east coast) will experience a total (100%) eclipse (less hot air?).

The “Honeymoon Capital” of Niagara Falls—perfectly located for totality—is already braced for allegedly 1,000,000 visitors on eclipse day

Find your location and exact timings on the eclipse map here.

Read my friend Jeff Booth’s email below (a master amateur astronomer) (has his own astronomical observatory) for more info and a special safety surprise…



“Hi Eugene,
 
Below are a number of hyperlinks to information on the fast-approaching total solar eclipse.

Its path of totality is just south of you, easily reachable, a short drive (maybe a little longer on your bike).
 
The Ottawa and Montreal centres, of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, have lots of information on this absolutely amazing natural phenomenon. Links below.
 
If interested in trying to experience this once-in-a-generation profound event, please check out Ottawa and Montreal links below for more local-to-you information.

For me, a 99.9% eclipse is nothing. Nothing. You have to get into the path of totality to get the full-body out-of-this-world experience. And the closer to the centre of the path of totality, the better!

That is where you get the longest period of totality and the darkest night; at the edge of the path of totality you get the shortest period of totality and a less dark sky.

Lots and lots of different things will happen. It becomes night (in the middle of a Spring afternoon), the stars come out, you can see planets, animals make unusual sounds, birds make roosting calls, the temperature plummets, the winds pick up, and where the sun was there is the blackest, black, black circle.  Almost as if this black thing is sucking all of the light from the Sun. And you can see the filaments of the solar corona exploding outward from this black circle in the sky. You can also see solar prominences, too, great flame-like eruptions at the edge of the solar disc. And every cell of your body is screaming at you that something crazy … something profound … is happening. The hair on your neck will stand up. Maybe even on your half-bald head, Eugene.

But only where there is totality. 
 
That’s why even 99.9% doesn’t cut it.

There’s lots more: if you are on a high point, look to the west and you will see a great darkness – across the whole landscape – rushing toward you – at about 1,000 km an hour. It’s the shadow of the Moon, heading for you.
 
And there is more, too: two solar “diamond rings” … one just before totality, the other just after.
 
You will have a red sunset, across 360 degrees of your total horizon. Everywhere, red sunset.

If I may be so bold, please consider taking the day off. 
 
Go experience this. You will not regret it.

Others are travelling thousands of miles, at considerable cost, to see this. For you, it is in your backyard.
 
Also, best to be with a group of other people. The best people to be with? A group from RASC Ottawa or RASC Montreal centres. They will tell you everything that is going on and explain everything. 

Almost guaranteed that they will have specialized solar telescopes too and will make them available for you to look through during the eclipse. In Tennessee, at the 2017 total solar eclipse, our group of 3 Canadians had 4 solar-safe telescopes between us, and we put about 200 people “through them” during that much-shorter eclipse.

One more thing, you must get eclipse glasses to look directly at the sun. Absolutely needed for looking safely. Not needed during totality, where the sun is hidden behind the moon. The RASC centres can supply these (depending on supply), also, there is a link below to them. They are also available online. These special-filter glasses should only be used “naked eye” – you cannot use these with binoculars or telescopes, or else severe injury to your eyesight can result. Read and follow the cautions, etc., printed on the glasses.

If you do not have solar glasses – and some retailers are already sold out – you can view the eclipse using a DIY pinhole projector. 

Here is a link to a how-to-make-one, from CBC.  

Finally, click here for a link to a “new stamp” that celebrates the arrive of the historic total solar eclipse.
 
Jeff.”
 


JEFF ADDS

Well, actually, there is more to the provenance of these glasses.  I actually got them from a dear friend, Mr. Ed Mizzi, of Waterdown, Ontario.

In addition to being a former president of the Hamilton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada he also holds a remarkably special honour.  

In recognition of the countless things Ed has done for astronomy in Canada over the years, a couple of years ago, the International Astronomical Union, in Paris, France, officially named a minor planet after Ed.

So, if you win one of these eclipse glasses, you will actually also be receiving them from a man who has a planet named after him. Really.

Asteroid 10492 Mizzi (1986 QZ1) is out there, past Mars but not as far as Jupiter.  Ed’s planet is about 10 kilometres in diameter. A “day” on Ed’s planet is about 1.5 Earth days and a year on Ed’s planet is 5.3 Earth years.

Next time Ed visits his vacation property, he’s promised to take me along … so long as I pay for the gas. 

HELPFUL HYPERLINKS FROM JEFF

  1. Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Ottawa Centre
  2. Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Montreal Centre
  3. Map – interactive map, click on your location    
  4. Eclipse Glasses – you can also Google other suppliers … just Google “eclipse glasses” (If you’re not one of the 5 winners)
  5. Solar Eclipse Explainer
  6. NASA site – excellent
  7. How Ontario is preparing for this eclipse
  8. Pinhole projector
  9. Canada’s Eclipse stamp

Thank you: Jeff and Connie Booth, Oakville, jbooth@cogeco.ca.