The Hamilton Spectator

How and where to safely watch solar eclipse in Norfolk County

Free eclipse glasses available at all library branches while supplies last

- J.P. ANTONACCI J.P. ANTONACCI’S REPORTING IS FUNDED BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT THROUGH ITS LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE. JPANTONACC­I@THESPEC.COM

Norfolk County will be blanketed in darkness during the total solar eclipse on April 8, and the local library system is making sure residents do not miss this rare chance to see the moon completely block the sun.

Starting Monday, residents can pick up a free pair of certified eclipse glasses at any library branch.

The glasses, donated by McMaster University’s physics and astronomy department, contain filters that allow wearers to safely watch the eclipse. Normal sunglasses do not offer sufficient protection.

The eclipse glasses are available while supplies last and limited to one pair per person.

Another way to get a free pair is to attend an eclipse info session hosted by North Shore Erie Amateur Astronomer­s, who will teach attendees how to safely watch all phases of the eclipse.

The 10:30 a.m. info sessions will be held at the Delhi library branch on Friday, at the Port Rowan branch on Tuesday, and in Simcoe on March 22.

The astronomer­s will also visit the Port Dover library on March 16 at 11 a.m. and the Waterford branch at 2 p.m. on March 28.

Norfolk residents have a rare chance to see the full eclipse, as the entire county is within the direct path of totality — a narrow strip about 100 kilometres wide in which the sun will appear to be completely covered by the moon.

The eclipse is expected to start at 2:02 p.m. and conclude by 4:30 p.m., with the totality visible in Norfolk between 3:16 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.

Schools in Norfolk, Brant and Haldimand will be closed on April 8, as trustees did not want to risk student and staff safety by having the dismissal bell ring during the height of the eclipse.

Instead, the Grand Erie District School Board will distribute eclipse glasses from McMaster to all staff and students, along with educationa­l materials about the eclipse.

The Waterford Agricultur­al and Heritage Museum will welcome area kids from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for WHAM’s Great Solar Eclipse, a day of indoor and outdoor programmin­g led by staff and students from the Ontario Science Centre. Admission is by donation. Starting at noon, Long Point Eco Adventures in St. Williams will host a free afternoon of family-friendly presentati­ons, interactiv­e activities and “awe-inspiring eclipse viewing opportunit­ies,” according to the event descriptio­n.

Experts will delve into the science and cultural significan­ce of eclipses, while attendees can make celestial-themed crafts before watching the moon traverse the sun through free eclipse glasses.

Further west along the lakeshore, Hounds of Erie Winery in Clear Creek is selling 50 tickets for a “Sips and Eclipse” event from noon to 5 p.m.

For $30, attendees can sip on a glass of wine or cider, don compliment­ary eclipse glasses and toast the totality by the campfire.

Don’t miss the moment

Photograph­er Amy Friend says those looking to capture what could be a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event should attach an internatio­nal-standard solar filter to any camera — including a smartphone — to ensure their safety.

Photograph­ers should practice by taking photos of the sun — but not looking directly at it — ahead of time and try outdoor night photograph­y to gauge appropriat­e aperture settings and shutter speeds, said Friend, an associate professor and chair of visual arts at Brock University.

The solar eclipse on April 8 is expected to start at 2:02 p.m. and conclude by 4:30 p.m., with the totality visible in Norfolk between 3:16 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.

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