Tech and Science

During next week’s solar eclipse, Toronto residents “may not even realize something is happening,” says professor

Toronto residents eager to catch a glimpse of the upcoming total solar eclipse should hit the road and leave the city next Monday.

While the moon will obscure 99.9 per cent of the sun in parts of Toronto on April 8, the city is not in the path of totality like other communities outside the GTA.

“This is a very important difference for solar eclipses,” said Elaina Hyde, director of the Allan I Carswell Observatory at York University and a professor in the school’s science department.

“When you are holistic, you are in a place where the sky goes dark. This is a very spectacular show. You get the big temperature shift. Animal behavior can change.”

She said a partial solar eclipse will be visible in other areas, but viewers will miss many exciting aspects of the celestial event.

“You won’t see the sky go dark. You will not experience the sun being obscured. You won’t see the corona,” Hyde said.

“If you just stand around outside, you might not even notice what’s happening.”

The good news is: For those who want the full experience, there are several cities in the path of totality just a short drive from Toronto, including areas west of the GTA like Hamilton and the Niagara Region.

“It’s a thin, thin line that runs through North America, and only in this particular region will you get some level of totality,” Hyde said.

“Some cities will only get 30 seconds. In some cities like…Niagara Falls the ride takes more than three and a half minutes.”

Hyde said Hamilton would experience one minute and fifty seconds of totality.

“When totality happens, it’s very noticeable,” she said.

Even if the sky is cloudy, there will still be something for viewers to see in total areas, Hyde said.

“In the worst case scenario, the sky is completely overcast and overcast and gray with clouds. In this case, you simply won’t see anything unless you’re complete. “You will see the sky getting darker and it becoming more nighttime,” she added.

Toronto’s sky may have a “red tint.”

For those unable to leave the city on Monday, Hyde said “a very beautiful partial solar eclipse” could still be visible to those using safe viewing techniques. Since the sun is never completely obscured by the moon, people in the city will not be able to look directly into the eclipse at any time without appropriate glasses.

“If you look at it safely … you’ll see the sun’s disk gradually turning into a crescent, and that crescent gets thinner and thinner and then it gets bigger and bigger and becomes a circle again,” she said .

“Depending on what the atmosphere is doing, and again the state of the sky, there can sometimes be a slight redness in the sky.”

For those who want to see the full eclipse but avoid large crowds, Hyde said Brantford or Belleville could be good areas to check out.

For those who don’t mind a longer hike, she said Montreal is a unique place to view the eclipse.

“Montreal will be almost split in half by the eclipse path,” she said. “So part of Montreal will see the eclipse and part will not.”

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