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Solar Eclipse

As you are likely aware from news reports, there will be a solar eclipse on Monday, April 8th, that will impact Vancouver from approximately 10:40 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Environment Canada’s forecast for the day is for cloudy with a chance of showers, which should somewhat obstruct the solar eclipse but does not completely block the sun. 

Observing a solar eclipse can be a breathtaking experience, but it’s important to do so safely. Here’s a guide on how to safely view a solar eclipse:

1. Use Proper Eye Protection

  • Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. This can cause serious eye damage or even blindness. Regular sunglasses are not enough.
  • Use specially designed solar viewing glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. These glasses block harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation.
  • Check the glasses for any damage before using them. If they are scratched or damaged, do not use them.
  • Put on your solar viewing glasses before looking at the sun and keep them on until you look away.

2. Projection Method

  • An indirect way to view the eclipse is through projection. You can make a pinhole projector or use a telescope or binoculars to project an image of the sun onto a piece of paper.
  • To make a simple pinhole projector, poke a small hole in a piece of cardboard and hold it between the sun and a second piece of paper or the ground. The image of the sun will be projected onto the second surface.
  • This method allows you to view the eclipse without looking directly at the sun.

3. Welder’s Glass

  • If you have a welder’s glass with a rating of at least 14, you can use it to view the sun. Welder’s glass provides enough protection to safely observe the eclipse.

4. Solar Filters for Telescopes and Cameras

  • If you plan to use a telescope, camera, or binoculars to view the eclipse, you must use a solar filter designed for these devices.
  • Solar filters for telescopes and cameras fit over the front of the lens or telescope and block harmful rays.

5. Find a Good Viewing Spot

  • Choose a location with a clear view of the sun. Avoid tall buildings, trees, or other obstructions that might block your view.
  • If you’re in the path of totality (the area where the total eclipse is visible), you’ll have the best view. But even if you’re not in this path, you can still see a partial eclipse.

6. Be Prepared

  • Check the weather forecast beforehand to ensure clear skies.
  • Bring water, snacks, and any other supplies you might need, especially if you plan to be outside for a while.
  • Charge your camera or phone if you want to capture photos of the eclipse.

During the Eclipse

  • Once you have your eye protection or projection method ready, watch as the moon moves across the face of the sun.
  • During totality (if you’re in the path of totality), it will briefly become dark as the moon completely covers the sun. This is when you can safely remove your eye protection to view the corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere.
  • If you’re observing a partial eclipse, keep your eye protection on at all times while looking at the sun.

After the Eclipse

  • Once the eclipse is over, properly dispose of any disposable solar viewing glasses.
  • Reflect on the experience and share it with others who might be interested.

By following these safety tips and methods, you can enjoy the awe-inspiring sight of a solar eclipse without risking your eyesight.

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