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Everything You Need to Know About the Solar Eclipse

Today all of North America will be treated to some degree of a solar eclipse. During the eclipse, the sky will darken all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 113 kilometers wide! People who flocked to this “path of totality” for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience! Now, no.. Canada won’t experience the full monty, but look at the map below to find out your prime viewing time and expected eclipse percentage.

 Everything You Need to Know About the Solar Eclipse
Courtesy: Canadian Space Agency

Here’s what you else you need to know:
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and blocks all or part of the sun. Total solar eclipses occur due to a cosmic quirk of geometry: the sun’s diameter is 400 times wider than the moon’s, but it is also 400 times farther away. The result? The sun and the moon appear to be the same size from our perspective.

During the path of totality, the sky will go completely dark for a few minutes in the afternoon and the temperature will drop. In areas where only 50 to 75 per cent of the Sun is covered, you might not even notice much going on.

The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979, which also passed through Canada. This will be the first total solar eclipse in 99 years to cross coast-to-coast in America!

The first point of contact starts at 9:05 AM PDT in Oregon. Totality starts there at 10:16 AM PDT and will cross over Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina, where it will end at 2:48 EDT. The longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be covered for about two minutes and 40 seconds.

Up here in Canada, Victoria, B.C. is where you want to be! They’ll have the best view of near totality with about 90 per cent of the sun being covered. The partial eclipse will last about three hours- from Victoria at 9:09 a.m. PDT to St. John’s at 5:24 NDT.

People watching the eclipse must wear special eclipse glasses to avoid damaging their eyes. Watching a partial eclipse or uneclipsed sun without special solar filters could damage your vision or even cause blindness.

Where can you watch the eclipse safely in Toronto? Places like York University, University of Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre and the Riverwood Conservancy are all holding safe and free viewing parties! For more information, visit

If you are lucky enough to watch it at home, be sure to protect your eyes! NASA has provided a tutorial on how to make your own pinhole project out a cereal box! Check it out!

Not able to get out of the office to see it? NASA will be hosting a live stream.
The solar eclipse is a spectacular sight, but what we can learn from them is even more spectacular. The eclipse allows a better view of the sun’s corona, the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere that is usually hidden by the sun’s bright surface. NASA will be chasing that shadow in two jet planes outfitted with telescopes and cameras to capture clear images.
The solar eclipse will also allow unprecedented observation of Mercury’s surface. Mercury is very close to the sun, which makes it difficult to study from Earth. Jupiter, Mars, and Venus could also be seen during the eclipse.

Our own Dan Riskin will be on CP24 and CTV News later today to break down everything solar eclipse!

Are you planning on watching the solar eclipse? Be sure to post your photos and location and tag @dailyplanetshow on Twitter and @dailyplanet on Facebook!
Enjoy! And safe viewing.