‘It’s quite rare’: Partial solar eclipse to be viewable in Manitoba next week

A total solar eclipse is on the horizon next week in North America, and Manitobans will have the opportunity to observe some of the phenomenon.

What is a solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is when the moon will be in a direct line between the sun and the earth, creating a dark, quickly moving shadow on the face of earth, called an umbra.

For those in the ‘path of totality’ the sun’s rays will be completely blocked.

Manitoba falls outside of this path meaning residents will only see a partial eclipse – which is when the moon blocks part of the sun, creating a lighter shadow known as a penumbra.

Despite it being a partial one, Kelvin Au, a PHD student in Astrophysics at University of Manitoba, says it’s still something to be appreciated.

“It’s quite rare. I mean, the next total one’s going to be in 2044, that we’re going to be seeing in North America,” said Au. “So as far as the partial one goes, I would say it’s decently rare, and it’s something worth checking out.”

When is it viewable?

The eclipse will occur on Monday, April 8.

According to Au, you’ll be able to see the partial eclipse from around 1pm to 3 pm.

What kind of eye protection should you use?

But just because it’s a partial eclipse one, doesn’t mean you should be more lax about eye-care safety. Looking at the sun with unprotected eyes can cause permanent eye damage. Au recommends wearing eclipse glasses – but only purchasing them from authorized sources.

“Speaking about safety, eclipse glasses, definitely don’t order them online. There could be sources that aren’t certified, they should be ISO certified eclipse classes. So I know the Manitoba museum sells them and they know what they’re doing out there. So definitely go to verified sources. And for us locally here, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and Manitoba museum are definitely places to go,” said Au.

How are schools preparing for this event?

The province sent a letter in March to school divisions, board chairs, early learning child care facilities, and others, warning that “children and students may need extra supervision during the eclipse, as they may not fully comprehend the risks involved.”

It also encourages plans to keep children indoors during the afternoon to ensure they don’t view the eclipse without appropriate eye protection.

CTV has reached out to the provincial government for comment and will update accordingly.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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