Solar Eclipse Educational Information

Totality Map for April 8th, 2024

Collapsible content

How unique are the 2023 and 2024 Solar Eclipses?

Solar eclipses are relatively rare events. On average, there are about 2 to 5 solar eclipses per year, including both partial and total eclipses. A total solar eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth once every 18 months on average. In any one location, a total solar eclipse is rare and occurs on average every 375 years in a particular city.

What will I experience?

The experience is hard to describe. With this rare event of a Totality happening near the Greater Toronto Area, it is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience. People describe past solar eclipses as an awe-inspring, beautiful, eerie and emotional experience. Many people are so moved by the experience they become “eclipse chasers” and travel around the world to watch more of them.

What happens in the Path of Totality?

During totality (the small path where the moon will block out 100% of the Sun), the moon blocks the sun casting a shadow on Earth. This is the only time the sun’s corona (outer atmosphere) is visible to the naked eye for a few minutes.

What will I see in Canada on April 8th, 2024 (Total Eclipse)?

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. People located in the center of the Moon’s shadow when it hits Earth will experience a total eclipse (path of totality).

Should I travel to be in the Path of Totality?

Yes. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Eastern Canada. If you are the path of 99% totality, the sky will be 10 000 times brighter than if you are in the path of 100% totality.

Which cities will be in the path of totality on April 8th, 2024?

See our custom Canadian map. To find out whether your home or any other specific location is within the path, see Xavier Jubier's Google Map, which supports zooming in to street level.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, blocking all or a portion of the Sun's light.

Why does an Eclipse happen?

The diameter of the Sun is approximately 400 times greater than that of the moon, but it is also around 400 times farther away. Therefore, the Sun and Moon appear to be the same size in the sky. When the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, it casts a shadow on Earth that either fully or partially blocks the Sun. This only happens occasionally, because the Moon doesn’t orbit in the exact same plane as the Sun and Earth do.

Why don't Solar Eclipses happen every month?

Solar eclipses don't occur every month because the Moon's orbit around the Earth is slightly tilted relative to the Earth's orbit around the Sun. This means that the alignment for an eclipse doesn't occur with every full or new moon.

What types of Solar Eclipses are there?

There are three main types of solar eclipses: total solar eclipse, partial
solar eclipse, and annular solar eclipse.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely covers the Sun, casting a shadow on Earth and revealing the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona. It's considered one of the most spectacular natural phenomena.

What is a Partial Solar Eclipse?

A partial solar eclipse occurs when only a part of the Sun is obscured by the Moon. This happens when the alignment is not perfect and only a portion of the Sun's disk is covered.

What is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but when it is at or near its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun. As a result, the Moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the Moon.

Can I look at a Solar Eclipse directly?

No, you should never look directly at the Sun during a solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Doing so can cause serious and permanent damage to your eyes. You can buy your eclipse glasses from our website.

How can I safely observe a Solar Eclipse?

You can use special solar viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers that are specifically designed to protect your eyes while watching the eclipse. Alternatively, you can use indirect methods like pinhole projectors to view the eclipse's image.

How Long does the Solar Eclipse Last (time of day)?

Depending on where you are located, the time of the eclipse will vary. If you are in the path of totality, the total solar eclipse lasts around 3 minutes. For example, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the start of the partial eclipse is expected at 2:04pm, totality would be from 3:18pm to 3:21pm, and the eclipse would be expected to end at 4:31pm.

Do animals react to Solar Eclipses?

Yes, some animals might exhibit changes in behavior during a solar eclipse. Birds might stop singing, and nocturnal animals might become more active, thinking night has fallen. However, not all animals react noticeably to eclipses.

Do Solar Eclipses affect the weather?

There is ongoing research into whether solar eclipses can have short-term effects on local weather patterns, such as temperature drops, due to the sudden reduction in sunlight. However, any effects are generally temporary and localized.

Are Solar Eclipses scientifically significant?

Yes, solar eclipses have played a significant role in the history of astronomy. They have provided opportunities to study the Sun's corona, test Einstein's theory of relativity, and refine our understanding of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.

Can I Photograph a Solar Eclipse with my Smartphone?

While smartphones can capture some aspects of a solar eclipse, they aren't designed for direct solar photography. Using your smartphone to photograph the eclipse would require specialized solar filters to protect your eyes and your phone's camera.

How does the weather affect the Eclipse viewing?

If it is cloudy, you won’t be able to see the Sun or the Solar eclipse. Therefore, it is good to plan ahead, and prepare for the possibility of driving to a different location that is in the path of totality that has better weather.

Can I Remove my glasses during Totality (April 8, 2024)?

If you are in the path of 100% totality on April 8th, 2024, there is a brief time (a few minutes) when you can remove the glasses and view the Sun (glasses should always remain on for the Oct 14, 2023 Annular Eclipse). Please have a trained professional letting you know when the glasses can be safely removed.  

What will I see in Canada on October 14th, 2023 (Annular Eclipse)?

Most of Canada will be able to see (weather permitting) a partial annular solar eclipse on October 14th, 2023. A partial solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but the Sun, Moon, and Earth are not perfectly lined up, therefore only a part of the Sun will appear to be covered, giving it a crescent shape. In Canada, the West Coast will have
more of the Sun blocked out by the moon.