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The Total Solar Eclipse: A Celestial Phenomenon Not to be Missed

On April 8th, a rare celestial event will take place - a total solar eclipse. The long-awaited astronomical event will see the moon completely cover the sun, creating a breathtaking spectacle for observers.

On April 8th, a rare celestial event will take place - a total solar eclipse. The long-awaited astronomical event will see the moon completely cover the sun, creating a breathtaking spectacle for observers. However, to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event, you need to be within a specific 185-kilometer-wide path that extends from Residents in parts of Ontario, Northern Manitoba and stretching outward to New Brunswick and P.E.I.


To view the total solar eclipse, it is crucial to take the necessary precautions to avoid damaging your eyes or equipment. According to Gary Boyle, an astronomy educator and guest speaker, never look directly at the sun without a solar filter. When purchasing certified eclipse glasses, always buy them from reputable telescope dealers. It is important to note that many dealers are selling out of stock, so it's essential to act fast. Additionally, never use a do-it-yourself hack seen online as it could put your eyes at risk of damage or even blindness.


When using a telescope, binoculars, or camera, always place the filter in front to reduce the sun’s glare before it is magnified or imaged. Never place a filter behind the eyepiece, as it could act as a laser and melt the filter and your eyes. You could also damage or melt your camera or smartphone sensor. If you can't find solar filters or welder’s glass, you can use a simple spaghetti or vegetable strainer. Hold the kitchen tool about a foot off the ground and look at the projection of numerous semi-circles as the moon moves in front of the sun. This allows you to take a picture of the projection safely without looking directly at the bright solar disk.


Boyle also advises that a pinhole camera made from a cereal box is an excellent project to undertake with children. The instructions for making a pinhole camera can easily be found online. Many public viewing events with dedicated astronomers using solar telescopes will be planned, so it's essential to check your area for these gatherings. This is a great opportunity to look through telescopes and learn about the sun.


While the total solar eclipse is happening, the moon will completely cover the sun, and it will be safe to look at it. During this time, observers will be able to see the outer corona, which is only visible with the naked eye during totality. It will appear as a halo around the sun. You can also look for the bright planet Jupiter up at the eleven o’clock position and Venus down at five o’clock. It is important to note the totality length for your area to know when to hold up the filter before the bright sun emerges from behind the moon.


To ensure you get the best experience of the total solar eclipse, it's important to take note of the safety precautions and have a little bit of luck with the weather. Boyle emphasizes how unforgettable this moment in time will be. “With the above-mentioned safety precautions and a little luck in the weather, this will be a moment in time that you will never forget. Feel free to email me your questions via my website.”


Gary Boyle has been interviewed on over 55 Canadian radio stations, as well as various television stations across Canada and the U.S. He is recognized as an astronomy educator, guest speaker, former monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and a STEM educator. The International Astronomical Union has honored him with the naming of an asteroid, Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Facebook and his website:


The total solar eclipse is an exceptional celestial event that should not be missed. However, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure you don't damage your eyes or equipment. Whether you're a seasoned astronomer or looking to experience the magic of the universe for the first time, the total solar eclipse is an event that you will never forget.


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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