While we won’t get a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 like our cousins to the south, we’ll still be treated to a beautiful partial one. But you’re going to want to see it safely.
Looking at the sun is always a bad idea, but during an eclipse, we tend to try to overcome the body’s response that tells us to look away from the bright light. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s safe just because part of the sun is blocked by the moon.
“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 per cent of the sun to be visible to generate eye damage,” astronomer Paul Delay told CBC News.
Ralph Chou, astronomer and editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Optometry, agreed.
“Even if 0.5 per cent of the sun’s photosphere is visible, there is still a retinal hazard because the exposed photosphere is still producing the same amount of light as always,” he told CBC News. “The only difference is, the scar is the shape of the exposed remaining crescent instead of a circle.”
The scar comes from long exposure to the intense light from the sun, which can literally cook the retinal tissue of your eye.
There are safe ways to watch an eclipse, however.
You can purchase solar eclipse glasses. But be wary: fake solar eclipse glasses have been making the rounds. So buy them from a science store, museum, science centre or trusted astronomy group. However, with anticipation for the event ramping up, many places may be sold out.
You can also use Number 14 welder’s glasses (but only those) which may be available at hardware stores.
Or, you can make a pinhole camera with cardboard, aluminum foil, tape and a pin.
If you’d like to see the eclipse through a special solar telescope, check out local events near you for eclipse parties.
Here are some events in major Canadian cities. Elsewhere, look for astronomical groups, science organizations or events hosted by your town or city.
All times in this list are local.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre, will be set up on top of Mount Tolmie from about 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The University of Victoria will update its site about its event.
Science World will hold its viewing event from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., with total eclipse coverage from the U.S. in the…