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Why this region of Ontario could be the best place to be for next month’s total solar eclipse | Radio-Canada News


Robert Cockcroft’s advice to Hamilton residents on April 8? Don’t leave town and expect guests.

“The Hamilton-Niagara region is the best place to view the eclipse because that’s where we can see a total solar eclipse,” said planetarium director William J. McCallion of McMaster University.

On this day, people across North America will see the moon pass between the sun and Earth. In some places this will partially block the sun. But in other areas, including Hamilton, Burlington, Six Nations and the Niagara region, all in Ontario, the moon will completely block the star’s light.

Only a few other cities in the province, including Kingston, Belleville and Cornwall, will have a similar view.

In Hamilton, the sun will be completely hidden for about two minutes starting at 3:18 p.m. ET, according to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). However, it will be at least partially overcast from approximately 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

That’s because this region lies on what’s called the path of totality, Cockcroft said — a 100- to 115-kilometer arc across the globe from which things will line up perfectly. The CSA website says other cities on the way include Montreal and Fredericton.

People will flock to Hamilton Niagara to view the eclipse. here’s why

Robert Cockcroft, director of McMaster University’s William J. McCallion Planetarium, explains why the Hamilton-Niagara region will be the best in Ontario for viewing the April 8 eclipse. He also explains why this eclipse will be important and how to observe it safely.

The Hamilton area will turn dark during the eclipse

“There are four to seven solar or lunar eclipses per year, but only people in the path of an eclipse can see it,” explains the CSA.

If you are outside the path of the upcoming solar eclipse, “the light will dim noticeably and it will be a little cooler, but you will not be able to see the climax of the spectacle that is the total solar eclipse, where the sky gets dark enough to see planets and stars in the sky,” Cockcroft said.

What is likely is that people from outside the area will come to view the eclipse, he said. Based on his previous eclipse experience traveling to see an eclipse in 2017, Cockcroft predicts that “the roads are going to be a nightmare.”

But, he added, all Hamiltonians need to do is get outside and look up – with the appropriate eclipse glasses of course.

There will be a series of events in the region during the eclipse, including an event planned by McMaster University, Cockfroft said. And if it’s a cloudy day, stream the eclipse live will also be possible.

He said it was a great educational opportunity for the children, many of whom I won’t have school that day – just take a few precautions.

Looking at the sun before and after can hurt your eyes

The sun is too bright to see directly, Cockcroft said. But McMaster University has partnered with the Hamilton Public Library to offer residents free eclipse glasses which use the international standard ISO 12312-2.

With these, as Cockcroft demonstrated outside the planetarium, you can gaze at the star and study features such as sunspots.

The CSA says glasses made to this standard filter enough light to allow the sun to be seen and notes that eye protection is necessary before and after totality.

The only time you can look at the sun without eye protection is during totality, Cockcroft said.

He said another option for eclipse watchers is to make an eclipse projector — a DIY tool that will allow you to view a projection of the eclipse without special glasses.

A portrait of a person wearing a headscarf stands in a courtyard outside.
Cockcroft says eclipses are something entire communities can enjoy together. (Justin Chandler/CBC)

The next total solar eclipse visible from Hamilton is 2144

“Having a total solar eclipse occur is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Cockcroft said. “We haven’t had one since 1925 and the next one will be in 2144.”

But rarity aside, why do people care so much about eclipses?

On the one hand, it’s a strange experience to see the sky darken at midday, Cockroft said.

“You’ll notice something weird, even if you didn’t know it was going to happen.”

There may also be something more philosophical at play.

“During a total solar eclipse, despite all of our technology that we have, we are still at the mercy of what’s happening in the sky,” Cockroft said.

“And it’s a nice way to completely break away from whatever you’re doing that day. Everyone in the community gets to experience this awesome event in the sky at the same time.”


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