British Columbians will arguably have the best view in Canada of a solar eclipse this weekend.
On Saturday morning (Oct. 14), the earth, sun and moon will align in such a way that for a brief period of time the sun will appear to vanish behind the moon, leaving only a “ring of fire.”
Different areas of the world will see things slightly differently, with some experiencing an annular solar eclipse, where only a border of sunlight remains, and others only seeing a partial one, where the sun becomes a crescent shape. No one in Canada will see the sun fully disappear behind the moon, but those in B.C. will come closest.
From Vancouver, nearly 75 per cent of the sun is expected to vanish. The phenomenon will be visible beginning at 8:08 a.m., will peak at 9:20 a.m. and will end at 10:38 a.m.. It will begin a few minutes later for people in interior or eastern parts of the province, who will also experience slightly less of the sun disappear.
Of course, cloud cover may further obstruct the phenomenon.
Annular solar eclipses happen about every one to two years, but aren’t always visible from Canada.
They occur when the distances between the earth, moon and sun make the moon appear large enough to almost cover the entire sun. So, when the three align, a human on earth experiences it as the sun vanishing.
People looking to take in the phenomenon on Saturday should exercise caution, as staring directly at an annular or partial solar eclipse can cause serious eye damage. NASA suggests people obtain a pair of solar viewing glasses or create their own “eclipse projector” to view the event indirectly.
For those in Vancouver, the University of British Columbia says it will host a viewing event and provide glasses, so long as the weather permits.