One year from now, a total solar eclipse will sweep across North America, and millions of Canadians will be taking it in.
On April 8, 2024, the eclipse will be visible from Mexico to Canada, as it treks from below the Baja California peninsula to the Atlantic time zone, swinging over several U.S. states before venturing across the ocean.
In Canada, the total eclipse will be visible in parts of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. A list of Canadian cities where the total eclipse and its 186-km-wide swath (115 miles) will be visible is available online.
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A total eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the Sun. But if you can’t wait a year, another type of eclipse will occur in 2023, but more on that later.
Next year’s total solar eclipse, which will start in the South Pacific Ocean, will reach Mexico’s coast at 11:07 a.m. PT, and eventually exit Newfoundland at 5:16 p.m. NDT. It’s estimated that the total eclipse will last around four-and-a-half minutes.
In Ontario, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Kingston and Cornwall are along the total darkness path, as is Montreal.
Toronto, meanwhile, is just on the edge, though one website says GTA residents will experience approximately 99.8 per cent of the total eclipse.
If you plan on taking in an eclipse, here’s what NASA says.
“Except during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s bright face, it is not safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing,” said NASA.
“Viewing any part of the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.”
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The Space Agency added that “when watching the partial phases of the solar eclipse directly with your eyes, which happens before and after totality, you must look through safe, solar-viewing glasses (‘eclipse glasses’) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. You can also use an indirect viewing method, such as a pinhole projector.”
For Western Canada, how dark the skies will depend on geography. The Prairies will see 30 to 60 per cent of the total eclipse, while B.C. will see between 30 per cent in the Interior and 15 per cent along the South Coast.
However, this year, the reverse will mostly happen when an annual solar eclipse swings across from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Northwest on Oct. 14, 2023.
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An annular eclipse is almost a total eclipse, but the moon doesn’t entirely cover the sun, leaving a visible ‘ring of fire.’
The eclipse will travel from southeastern Texas to Oregon before reaching the Pacific Ocean. The closest Canadian province will be B.C., which will see 80 per cent of it along the South Coast, with most of the Interior seeing 70 per cent.
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Elsewhere, the Prairies will see 30 to 60 per cent, with Ontario between 30 and 40 per cent and Quebec at 20 per cent. Atlantic Canada will see 10 per cent.
“The name annular comes from the Latin word for ring, annulus,” said NASA. “These eclipses are named for their darkest, or maximum, point even if it only lasts less than a second.
“If the characteristic ring of fire is visible from even just one location, the whole eclipse is called an annular solar eclipse.”
NASA added that in most places and for most of the duration, an annular eclipse looks like a partial solar eclipse.
More information about the total solar eclipse in 2024 is available on NASA’s website.
More information about the annular eclipse in 2023 is available on NASA’S website.
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