Total Eclipse to cover South Dundas April 8

Pictured above, this March 30 photograph of the Sun shows the detail of the corona of the sun, including several sun spots. This photo was taken with a Nikon DSLR camera using a telephoto lens and an ND100000 photography filter. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – It is a celestial event that will not return to this region for several decades. The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse will follow the St. Lawrence River on April 8, and it is expected to bring many thousands of visitors to the region.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, perfectly blocking light from the Sun’s corona for a short period of time. Parts of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario fall in what is known as the Path of Totality – the narrow 185 kilometre wide band that a total eclipse will be seen.

There are three parts to a total eclipse. The eclipse will begin at first contact, which will take place at 14:11:51. This is when the Moon begins its transit across the path of the Sun. Second contact is reached at 15:24:28. At this point, the total eclipse has begun. Third contact begins at 15:26:35, as the Moon begins to travel out of the path of the Sun. Fourth contact, noting the end of the entire eclipse event, will take place at 16:35:34. In all, the South Dundas area will be in the path of totality for two minutes and seven seconds. The absolute maximum point of the eclipse is at 15:25:32.

Note, all times listed are 24-hour military time of hours, minutes, and seconds.

During the time between the first and second contact of the eclipse, and the third and fourth contact of the eclipse, special eclipse glasses which follow the ISO 12312-2 standards must be used to directly view the Sun in the run-up to and set of the eclipse. During the two minute and seven second Total Eclipse, you can safely view the eclipse without special eye protection. To be clear, special eye protection must be worn in the run up to the total eclipse, and the run down from the total eclipse.

During the eclipse totality, spectators should expect to feel an eight-to-10 degree temperature drop due to the lack of heat from the sun at the time. Due to the decreased light, animals and birds will be confused, acting as if it is at sunset time. Within the totality path, light will be significantly diminished.

For enthusiasts who wish to photograph the eclipse, do not use camera phones or cameras without a proper filter. Taking a photo without the proper safety filter of the partial eclipse phase will damage any sensors in your equipment, no different than a person’s eye.

A special ND100000 filter is needed for cameras to photograph the Sun. During the total eclipse phase, unshielded photography will not damage your equipment.

The significance of the eclipse in this area is not understated. The next total solar eclipse to cross a portion of Canada will be in 2044 in Alberta. The next total eclipse to cross a similar path through eastern Ontario will take place in 2106.

For the past two months, area officials have warned that there will be a significant increase in tourist traffic for the event. Original expectations for the southern half of SDG Counties and Cornwall was in the 8-10,000 range, but a greater number is estimated.

The Niagara Region, also in the viewing area, preemptively declared a State of Emergency last Friday to handle the estimated one million additional visitors to that area to view the eclipse.

SDG Counties officials have warned residents and visitors to not park on the side of roads to view the eclipse, keeping the roads open for vehicular traffic, including emergency services.

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission will have the Battle of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield park open for eclipse viewing. The cost is $10 per vehicle for parking, and tickets must be purchased online ahead of time.

Area parks will be open for viewing as well.

As for the weather forecast, the long range forecast from Environment Canada says it will be mostly sunny on April 8 with a high of 14 C. It is important to note that even if it is cloudy, during the eclipse period, protective eyewear must be worn.

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