Have any plans next weekend? If not, here’s something worth taking a peek at — a solar eclipse will occur across North America on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Unfortunately for Canadians, the eclipse — annular, not total, but more on that later — will track south of the border, though its sky-darkening effects will still be seen north of the 49th parallel.
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The eclipse’s path will start over the Pacific Ocean, west of Vancouver Island, then will track southeast.
It will make landfall in Oregon, just below Portland around 9:15 a.m. PT, eventually crossing seven other U.S. states before moving to Mexico and South America.
In Canada, the visual effect will vary greatly, but it will all be under the banner of being a partial eclipse. For example, in Vancouver and B.C.’s Okanagan region, locals will see roughly 80 per cent of the eclipse.
As one moves east, the effect diminishes.
Calgary will see around 70 per cent, with Regina at 60 per cent and Winnipeg at 50 per cent. Toronto will see 30 per cent, with Montreal at 20 per cent. The Atlantic provinces are at 10 per cent.
Now, about that annular note.
An annular eclipse differs slightly from a total eclipse in that the moon doesn’t quite fully block out the sun. As a result, viewers along the darkest part of the path will see a ‘ring of fire’ around the moon.
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According to NASA, “because the moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the sun and does not completely cover the sun. As a result, the moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the moon.”
The best viewing would be along the 125-mile-wide path of annularity. But if you plan on travelling south to view the eclipse, best start looking for rooms now.
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Global News phoned some hotels in the coastal community of Florence, Ore., which will be in the middle of the eclipse’s path when it makes landfall, and all said they were nearly booked, though a handful of rooms were available.
On a sidenote, the estimated time of darkness is four minutes and 30 seconds, with the path travelling an estimated 6,400 km/h (4,000 mph).
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A word of caution, though: if you plan on looking at the eclipse, special eye protection is advised.
“The sun is never completely blocked by the moon during an annular solar eclipse. Therefore, during an annular eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection designed 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.”
More information about eye safety during an eclipse is available online.
An interactive map is also available online.
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