Solar Eclipse 2024 – April 8th

Written By: Dr. Tina Goodhew
total solar eclipse 2024

A Once-in-a-lifetime event for Eastern Ontario, Atlantic Canada and for all of us here in Oakville!

Solar Eclipse 2024 is just around the corner! For the first time in decades and for a long time to come, parts of Eastern Ontario and Atlantic Canada will be in the path of a total solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024. A rare celestial event for sure and one that you will not want to miss. In this blog post we’ll delve into what a solar eclipse is, where the path of totality will be and how to view this amazing event safely!

family looking at solar eclipse

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on the Earth. From our perspective on the ground, it will look like the Moon is blocking out the Sun in the sky. There are several types of eclipses, but the one during the afternoon of April 8, 2024 will be a total eclipse so if you are along that path the Moon will completely block out the Sun.

Path of totality versus partial eclipse

The image below shows where the total eclipse will occur which is called the path of totality. Outside of this path, people will see a partial eclipse. The nearer you are to the path of totality, the more of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon. Portions of Oakville, most of Burlington and all of Hamilton will be in the path of totality. From start to finish the eclipse will be visible for about 2 hours with totality lasting 2-3 minutes. Click here to get a more detailed map.

solar eclipse 2024 blog post image 2 total and partial path of eclipse
solar eclipse 2024 blog post image 3 total and partial path of eclipse

How to View Solar Eclipse 2024 Safely

Looking at the sun at any time without proper eye protection can severely and permanently damage your eye sight. On a bright sunny day we naturally look away from the sun but during an eclipse we want to look at the sun so it is paramount that we do that safely. The easiest way to do that is to have ISO certified eclipse glasses.

The ISO 12312-2 Standard for Solar Viewers is a policy on solar viewers and glasses that ensures the safety of the user. This specification sets requirements on specific properties of safe solar viewers, including how much visible light, UV radiation, and IR radiation reaches the back of our eyes. Only eclipse viewers and glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard are guaranteed to be safe for solar viewing if they are undamaged.

Be Extra Careful!

During an eclipse, even though some of the sunlight is blocked by the Moon, the remaining light can still damage unprotected eyes. This is why it is so important to have proper eclipse glasses so that you can safely look directly at all partial phases of the eclipse. Don’t get fooled by the fact that the Sun is mostly covered by the Moon: as long as a tiny fraction of the Sun can be seen, you must wear your ISO 12312-2 standard solar viewers to protect your eyes. When the eclipse is partial: wear your glasses!

The only time when it is safe to remove your eclipse glasses is during totality (not during any portion of the partial eclipse). During these 1-3 minutes, the Sun’s surface is completely blocked by the Moon and the corona is safe to look at directly. In fact, if you keep your glasses during totality, you will miss the best show since you won’t see anything! Make sure to put your glasses back on as soon as the Sun reappears from behind the Moon. 

eclipse glasses on and off image

Watch this Solar Eclipse 2024 Safety Video with Professor Ralph Chou to learn more!