Throughout history, solar eclipses have left people in awe as the Earth plunges into darkness during daylight hours. A solar eclipse occurs as the moon passes directly in front of the sun, blocking its light either partially or in full. This causes a shadow to appear on part the Earth, and those within the shadow experience this as an eclipse.
If you’re feeling intrigued by the incredible science behind this phenomenon, why not gather a group of friends together on the morning of August 21st to take in the spectacle of an eclipse yourselves? Throwing a Solar Eclipse Viewing Event is a unique and fun way to celebrate this rare occurrence.
Fill up some thermoses with coffee and hot chocolate, grab some delicious pastries, and set up comfortable folding chairs at your location to wait for the eclipse. Be sure to look at the weather forecast ahead of time to avoid cloudy skies, and pick an outdoor space with a clear view of where the sun will be. If there’s a chance of clouds, hop in the car and program your GPS to a spot with sunnier weather–you’ll definitely want to find clear skies for this event. Bring along portable speakers and a fun playlist (Dark Side of the Moon, anyone?) to give your gathering a true celebratory ambiance. And don’t forget the sunscreen–you’ll need it even while the sun starts to go dark!
Most importantly, bring along EclipSmart Solar Safe Shades to keep your eyes safe while you observe the eclipse. Never look directly at any part of the sun without proper protective equipment, as it can cause irreversible damage and even blindness.
Where Are You Viewing the Eclipse From?
While this eclipse will only reach totality over parts of the United States, we will still be able to observe a significant partial eclipse from Canada. If you’re curious about how much of the solar eclipse you’ll see and when you’ll be able to see the sun at the peak of the eclipse, here’s a quick list showing what you’ll be able to expect! Remember, the further from the path of totality you are, the less the sun will appear to be covered. For this August 21, 2017 solar eclipse, the path of totality will curve from the Pacific Northwest through the middle of the United States to the South-Eastern Seaboard.
Victoria: 91% of the sun will be covered at 10:20 am
Vancouver: 88% of the sun will be covered at 10:21 am
Calgary: 81% of the sun will be covered at 10:20 am
Edmonton: 75% of the sun will be covered at 11:35 am
Regina: 79% of the sun will be covered at 11:46 am
Winnipeg: 76% of the sun will be covered at 12:57 pm
Toronto: 76% of the sun will be covered at 2:32 pm
St. Johns: 43% of the sun will be covered at 4:29 pm
In the meantime, brush up on your solar eclipse knowledge, so you’ll know what to expect (and to impress your friends while you wait!)
10 Fun Facts About Solar Eclipses
- There are three different types of solar eclipses: a partial eclipse where the moon only covers some of the sun; a total eclipse, where the entire sun is covered and only the corona is visible; and an annular eclipse, which occurs when the moon covers the sun, but is at a wide point of its orbit, causing the sun to shine around the moon.
- When the moon blocks out the entire sun at the peak of a total eclipse, it is called ‘totality.’
- There are usually two to five solar eclipses per year, but most are not total eclipses, and many fall over unpopulated areas.
- It’s impossible to view a total solar eclipse from the North or South Pole.
- A total solar eclipse never lasts longer than 7.5 minutes.
- Temperatures can fall by up to 20 degrees as darkness falls during totality.
- Every 18 years and 11 days, an almost identical eclipse will happen. This is called the Saros Cycle.
- The widest possible path of totality is 269 kilometers across, though it is often quite a bit thinner – around 160 kilometers on average. This eclipse’s path of totality will be thinner than usual – about 115 km wide.
- The only time that we can view the sun’s corona with the naked eye is during a total solar eclipse.
- If you look directly at any part of the sun during an eclipse, no matter how small the visible sliver is, it can cause vision loss or other damage to your eyes due to the extreme intensity of the light. Always use proper protective gear to observe the sun!
How to Use the Solar Shades
EclipSmart Solar Safe Shades block the harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays of the light that comes from the sun and are essential for viewing the partial phases that precede and follow totality. You can follow the moon’s progression across the sun by looking through these glasses every few minutes during the partial phases. EclipSmart Solar Safe Shades are lab tested and meet the new ISO 12312-2 requirements (Filters for Direct Observation of the Sun). It is extremely important to remember that only during complete totality may you look at the sun without EclipSmart Solar Safe Shades. Never look directly at the partial phases of the eclipse without EclipSmart Solar Safe Shades.
Limit continuous use of the EclipSmart Solar Safe Shades to three minutes, and always directly supervise children under the age of 14 during their use.
WARNING: Never look at the sun without special eye protection. When viewing the eclipse, use eclipse glasses at all times when any part of the sun is visible. Direct viewing of the sun can cause permanent damage if the proper precautions are not taken. Adequate eye protection specifically designed for viewing the sun is essential and should be worn so that no harmful rays from the sun can reach the eye.
Now that you are prepared to view the eclipse safely, get ready to make an incredible memory! This rare occurrence won’t come along for another 18 years and 11 days, so make the most of it. Safe and happy viewing!