Much of Canada will be left in the dark during the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st (that’s a very good thing) – but we will only have a partial eclipse in Canada of between 26 and 90% coverage. Still, that will be enough to get great photos in most cities, should the weather hold and we have few clouds. And remember to protect your eyes, though you won’t have the dangers of a total eclipse when the sun is blocked out completely and then suddenly appears with a flash of light, as Americans will see.
(Check out our related YouTube video with even more info for Monday’s big event! )
On Monday, August 21, millions of heads across North America will be turned skyward to watch a much-anticipated event, peering through every type of conventional protective eyewear (and some contraptions likely inspired by TV’s MacGyver for the occasion) to spot what has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse (link is to an excellent resource, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada site)
The celestial event got its name because totality (complete coverage of the sun by the moon) will occur across a swath of the U.S. stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. However, it will also be seen in almost every major city in Canada – in the West, at least 70-90% of it, and as you go further East, that will unfortunately drop. Every major city in Canada will have at least 50% partial eclipse, with the possible exception of St. John’s, Newfoundland and the Territories at around 26%. Victoria has the honor of being the first in Canada to see it, and the city that will have the most totality in the nation – at 90%. I’m excited that my home city of Vancouver will be at 86%, if they don’t spread chem trails across our sky first haha.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be advised later Saturday night when we release a video on the eclipse, that will show a very short clip with the total trajectory for every major city in Canada, in order starting from West to East. Stay tuned to our channel (Saturday evening)! I will also highlight them all here, with the MAXIMUM coverage showing only – you could be treated however to a partial eclipse that is equally cool up to the point of maximum totality – the eclipse could last up to 1.5 hours from start to finish in some cities. Again, if you visit our YouTube channel later Saturday evening, you can see when the eclipse will start, it’s maximum coverage and when it will end, for every major city in Canada (Montreal and Quebec City are together for some reason).
Remember that when the eclipse starts, it’ll barely be noticeable. Eventually, however, it’ll look like someone’s taken a bite out of the sun and increase from there. Our YouTube channel shows a little diagram for each city, showing what it will look like in your city.
It’s important to remember to wear proper eye protection – though many people will undoubtedly set the video camera and leave it. With the exception of it coming out of totality, which in Canada won’t happen anyway – you should be able to focus your video camera and leave it. There will not be any sudden flashes of light that would cause your camera to lose it’s focus. It’s a slow enough event that you should get great footage in most cities. Be warned: there have been many glasses on the market that don’t meet the standards. Amazon has had to send out warnings to many who purchased inadequate eclipse glasses, causing an uproar just a week ahead of the event. “Just because 80 per cent of the sun is missing, 20 per cent of the sun is there. You only need a fraction of a percent of the sun to be visible to generate eye damage,” astronomer Paul Delaney told CBC News.
A Total Eclipse
A total solar eclipse is when the Sun is completely covered by the Moon. This diagram illustrates in more detail what happens during a total eclipse:
Here, the moon passes between the Earth and Sun (i.e. comes to a New Moon) at a point in its elliptical orbit when it is relatively close to the Earth. As it does so, it casts a shadow.
The umbral part of the shadow (the umbra) is the area where the Sun is totally obscured by the Moon. During a total eclipse, the Moon is close enough to the Earth that part of the umbra falls upon the Earth; in technical terms, astronomers say that its magnitude is greater than or equal to 1.000. People standing on those parts of the Earth, within the Umbra, see the Sun’s face completely hidden by the Moon — a total eclipse of the Sun.
It Goes The Wrong Way!
So much for how eclipses happen — but one question that often comes up is, why does the eclipse go from West to East, when the Sun and Moon go the other way?
Well, the movement of the Moon — from East to West — is, in fact, an illusion caused by the Earth’s rotation. As a matter of fact, the Moon orbits in the same direction that the Earth rotates; anticlockwise, as seen from above the North pole. But whereas the Earth takes just 24 hours to do one rotation, the Moon takes a month to go round the Earth (actually, the Moon takes 27.32 days to orbit the Earth).
This diagram illustrates the situation — but remember that it’s not even remotely to scale!
In other words, if the Earth was sitting still, the Moon would cross the sky from West to East. It would take 14 days to cross from horizon to horizon, and another 14 days to come around into view again. But the Earth doesn’t sit still — it rotates, every 24 hours, which is significantly faster than this. It’s like if you’re driving a car and overtake a jogger, they seem to be going backwards relative to you; the Earth rotates faster than the Moon’s orbit, so the Moon seems to be going backwards, when it’s actually going the same way.
Now, I’m going to be honest – I got that from an astronomy site, and I don’t think that makes any sense to me at all. There are many online that are touting the fact that this eclipse proves we do not live 93,000,000 miles from the sun or 285,000 miles from the moon – the shadow cast by the moon would be so much bigger. I have always thought it was very convenient that the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, and 380 times closer than the sun, so they appear to be the same size in the sky. I won’t cover that in this video because frankly, I can’t get my head around why the eclipse is travelling backwards to what it logically should be – East to West. It instead is going West to East, but I don’t know that, for the purposes of this article, covering that info will lead to any actual better understanding. NASA’s videos, for example, show the Earth rotating backwards, just so they can get the narratives to all make sense with what we are seeing.
An Event Near You!
For the major cities below (apologies Saskatoon and Montreal, the app I was using didn’t list either of you for some reason. However, from the information I was able to get from various sources, I can still give you the information you need for a spectacular day 🙂 All cities are listed from West to East, and you will have the maximum totality of the eclipse and what time that will be, as well as the weather forecast. In every city in Canada it is supposed to be sunny on Monday, except for 60% chance of rain in St John’s, NF. We’ll be praying the clouds will hold back until you get to see the eclipse, though it will only be at 26% in your city, due to your location away from South Carolina, where the eclipse will finish in North America. Enjoy everyone!