Monday will be a pretty special day in North America, and specifically in the United States. It will be the first time a total solar eclipse has swept across North America since February of 1979. I do have very vague memories from my childhood of a solar eclipse happening, but it was just a partial one – and in fact, anyone younger than 38 years old will have never experienced something like this in this part of the world – unless they were in Hawaii in 1991, when the island experienced a total solar eclipse.
While Monday’s eclipse has a very narrow path of totality that goes diagonally across the United States and doesn’t make its way into Canada at all, we’ll still be treated to quite a show here. Coverage of the sun ranges from around 90% in Vancouver to 31% in St. John’s Newfoundland, and Peterborough falls somewhere in the middle – we’ll be treated to roughly 70% coverage.
However, the 1979 eclipse WAS a total eclipse in many parts of Canada – there’s some more on that below.
But if you don’t see why the eclipse is such a big deal, perhaps having a look at these excerpts from ABC News’s coverage from that February day will help:
At the end of the report, Frank Reynolds… (sadly not THIS Frank Reynolds:)
… mentions that the next time such an event will happen is Monday’s date. I bet there will be plenty of similar news coverage this time around.
For a more Canadian perspective, here’s a report on that 1979 eclipse from Winnipeg:
If you’re planning on having a look at the eclipse, make sure you have appropriate eyewear. Regular sunglasses won’t work – you better make sure you’ve got some proper eclipse glasses. Those are pretty hard to come by in Peterborough right now, with just about every retailer having sold out of them.
However, the Peterborough Astronomical Association will be holding an event at Armour Hill and providing the necessary eye protection so you can get a good look at the eclipse!