RECENT LOCATIONS

Close
Add a location
Edit your saved locations

Viewing the 'Ring of Fire' in Canada


Andrew Fazekas, astronomer
May 19, 2012 — This weekend, skywatchers will get a chance to see the first solar eclipse in a decade.


A solar filter needs to be added to a telescope for safe viewing during a solar eclipse
A solar filter needs to be added to a telescope for safe viewing during a solar eclipse

Depending on where you are in North America, you'll see a portion of the sun being blocked by the silhouette of the moon.

If you're lucky enough to be in the southwest United States, you'll see a full annular eclipse, or a "ring of fire." This happens when the moon's disk is slightly smaller than the disk of the sun. When the moon goes in front of the sun, only a small ring of sunshine manages to poke through.

As a great consolation prize for Canadians, we'll get to see a partial solar eclipse. Depending on where you are, you'll see different portions of the sun being blocked by the moon.

If you're on the west coast, you could see as much as 75% of the sun. As we move towards the east, increasingly smaller portions of the sun will be visible.

What the eclipse could look like in parts of Canada
What the eclipse could look like in parts of Canada

In Toronto, about 18% of the sun will be blocked, in Ottawa about 10% will be blocked and in Montreal, skywatchers will see about 3% of the sun, just as it is setting on Sunday, May 20th.

Atlantic Canada won't get to experience the solar eclipse this time around.

That's because the sun will have set in that portion of the country by the time the eclipse begins.

But Atlantic Canada will get its chance in November, 2013, while the rest of Canada will see its next solar eclipse in October, 2014.

Remember -- you need eye protection to safely view an eclipse. It's never safe to look at the sun with unprotected eyes.

You'll need a solar filter in front of your telescope, which can be purchased at an astronomy store, or you can use cardboard eclipse-viewing glasses.

Another option is to punch a quarter-inch hole into a cardboard box and project the image onto a wall.

Log in or Sign up to submit a comment.




Comments





Take your weather with you, no matter where you go.

Get instant forecasts and alerts, right on your computer.

  • RSS & Data
Add weather updates to your website or RSS reader.