Today Grande Prairie will experience a partial solar eclipse.
Our maximum eclipse, about 60 to 70 per cent coverage, will happen around 11:30 a.m. The total duration being about two and a half hours from approximately 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A solar eclipse is when the moon tracks in front of the sun and blocks its light.
Bruce McCurdy, Astronomer with the observatory at Telus World of Science Edmonton, says although the eclipse is cool, it’s not worth losing your retina over.
“The sun during the eclipse is no more dangerous to look at the sun than it is to look at any other time, but the danger is any other time we know better than to look at the sun and during an eclipse because we know its going on we want to look,” said McCurdy.
There are ways to view the eclipse, but eclipse glasses are not readily available in Grande Prairie.
McCurdy suggests making a pin hole camera. You do this by poking a hole into the side of a cardboard box then pointing it towards the sun. There will then be a reflection on the other side of the box that reflects the eclipse.
He also provides another alternative called the solar projection method.
“If you have anything with holes in it, and that could be anything like a vegetable steamer, a colander, weird stuff like that, where you hold it up, the sun goes through the holes and where the sun lights up the ground where it’s gone through the holes,” said McCurdy, “instead of seeing a round sun like you would any other time, you’ll see the sun with this bite out of it.”
McCurdy also says leafy trees will give you the same effect on the ground.
As a replacement to eclipse glasses, you can use welding glasses if they are specifically number 14 shade. You can also watch the NASA Eclipse Live Stream.
Unlike a coast-to-coast sliver of the U.S., Canada won’t see a total eclipse, where the moon completely covers the sun and blacks out the sky for a short time.
Victoria will get Canada’s best view, with 90 per cent of the sun blocked out.
The eclipse will be total around what is called the centre line, which runs across the United States. The totality is expected to be two-and-a-half minutes.
(Photo from timeanddate.com)