Bluewater Astronomical Society

The Bluewater Astronomical Society is an incorporated non-profit organization that strives to promote basic and advanced astronomical knowledge among its members, and promote astronomy interest in the general public.

We have members ranging from beginners with small telescopes or binoculars to experts with state-of-the-art observing and imaging equipment. The club itself owns a large 28-inch Webster Dobsonian reflector which we use at the E.S. Fox observatory at the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre near Oliphant, Ontario. The Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre was granted Dark Sky Preserve status in November of 2012 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

2024 total solar eclipse
by Brett Tatton

April 8 marks the first total solar eclipse that is observable from southern Ontario since 1925; the next one observable from here won't occur in our lifetime. In Ontario, the Moon's shadow (or umbra) will sweep along the northern shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara Peninsula at about 15:20. If you are located in the shadow, you will be able to see the sun totally eclipsed (hidden) by the Moon. The closer to the center of the shadow, the longer the totality. Maximum duration peaks at 3 minutes 45 seconds for observers located in Fort Erie, Ontario.

During the few minutes when the eclipse is total, the moon hides the entire sun. During this time you will experience a false twilight. This is not the normal everyday twilight we are used to; it is a 360 degree twilight! You may notice it getting cool during or ahead of totality. Birds and insects will go quiet thinking it's evening; flowers will begin to close. After the darkness passes the animals and plants will go back to normal, but you will probably still be awestruck! Bright stars and planets will be visible during totality. The most amazing sight will be the Sun's atmosphere called the solar corona. There is no substitute for being along the shadow path and witnessing for yourself the few minutes of totality. In this video, "umbraphile" David Baron explains why you owe it to yourself to witness a total solar eclipse.

If you view the event from any other location you will only see the Sun partially eclipsed by the moon. The partial eclipse will be visible for observers across most of North America. In Grey-Bruce, the partial eclipse begins at about 14:00 and ends around 16:30. At 15:17, the moon hides just over 95% of the sun. Here is a link to an interactive Google eclipse map centred on our area for the April 8 eclipse. You can recentre it and click anywhere on it to see the local eclipse start and end times.

Eye safety: Only during totality is it safe to look at the sun without eye protection. This is because none of the sun's surface is visible. If you are not in the path of totality, you must wear eye protection at all times. Any time you are able to observe the sun's surface, you must be viewing through properly filtered optics or glasses. Sunglasses, normal welding glasses or any kind of homemade filters do not count! Proper eye protection requires the removal of 99.999% of the sun's heat and radiation. Here is a link from NASA that talks about guidelines for safe solar eclipse viewing including indirect viewing methods if you don't have any optical gear. This website lists North American suppliers of safe solar viewers and filters.

The Bluewater Astronomical Society has a limited inventory of eclipse glasses for safe viewing that are available to the public upon request. To acquire a pair, come out to one of our public viewing events or monthly meetings prior to the eclipse, or get ahold of us via the Contact Us page.

For more information including what causes solar eclipses, see this video by Jared Owen.

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