Rare solar eclipse Aug. 21

North Bay As­tron­omy Club set­ting up at wa­ter­front near The Boat to watch moon cover sun

North Bay Nugget - - NEWS - DAVE DALE

The North Bay As­tron­omy Club will be set­ting up at the Lake Nipiss­ing wa­ter­front for a rare solar eclipse Aug. 21.

Res­i­dents will be able to view the early af­ter­noon event through one of a half-dozen safety-shielded tele­scopes or bor­row spe­cial glasses “so peo­ple don’t burn their reti­nas out,” said Bill Mon­tague, club pres­i­dent.

The last time a to­tal solar eclipse was vis­i­ble from any­where in North Amer­ica was 1918 and the next op­por­tu­nity is years away.

North Bay, how­ever, won’t get to en­joy the full eclipse, with this re­gion only able to ex­pe­ri­ence about 70 per cent of the moon cov­er­ing the sun.

It’s ex­pected to be­gin at about 1:10 p.m. and peak at 2:28 with the last par­tial lu­nar block­age at 3:43 p.m.

Mon­tague said sev­eral club mem­bers will be on hand to field ques­tions about eclipses and as­tron­omy in gen­eral.

Res­i­dents in Western Canada will see about 85 per cent block­age, the best in this coun­try, while a wide ban of the mid-west and cen­tral United States will ex­pe­ri­ence the to­tal solar eclipse.

The club had can­celed this week­end’s reg­u­lar ‘Star Party’ to view the an­nual Per­seid me­teor shower, which is ex­pected to peak Satur­day and Sun­day.

Mon­tague said they had just held their an­nual Gate­way Star Party two weeks ago in South River, a late change from their usual gath­er­ing in Marten River, and it was get­ting a bit much know­ing the eclipse was com­ing too.

But, he said, the “beau­ti­ful dark skies with no am­bi­ent light” ex­pe­ri­enced on Bob and Lil Chap­man’s farm in South River, along with their pri­vate ob­ser­va­tory he built, was ap­pre­ci­ated by the two dozen mem­bers who took part.

They had more than 70 for the event last year in Marten River, but the late change in lo­ca­tion left quite a few peo­ple un­able to al­ter course.

He said sev­eral club mem­bers are head­ing to var­i­ous places in the United States to take in the to­tal solar cov­er­ing, not­ing they are go­ing to view­ing points in Ari­zona, Wyoming and Ten­nessee.

“It’s not go­ing to hap­pen for a long time (as far as be­ing vis­i­ble from this con­ti­nent),” Mon­tague said, adding there are groups that chase eclipses all over the world.

The next eclipse vis­i­ble from North Bay is a par­tial-cover “an­nu­lar eclipse” event in 2023.

He said peo­ple can get up­dates about the eclipse on the club’s web­site at gate­way­tothe­uni­verse.org.

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