June 10, 2002

On Monday, June 10th, across much of North America, the setting Sun will become a crescent shape as the Moon eclipses our star. This particular type of eclipse is known as an annular eclipse. During an annular eclipse, the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun but is unable to completely cover it because the Moon's disk appears smaller than the Sun.

The June 10 annular eclipse will be visible from eastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean and much of North America. From some locations, more than 99% of the Sun's disk will be hidden by the Moon. The eclipse will be partial for most observers throughtout this region including the United States and Canada, (except the East Coast), and Mexico.

What the eclipse will look like and when it begins and ends depends on your geographic location. You can see a graphic preview for a number of Canadian cities based on eclipse predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC, by following the link below:

Extreme care must be taken when watching a solar eclipse. You should never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or through any optical device (e.g. - camera, binoculars or telescope).

Advice from the Ontario Association of Optometrists

To avoid permanent damage to their eyes, the Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that Canadians exercise caution and never view the Sun directly with the naked eye. The association offers the following advice.

  1. Do not watch the eclipse without adequate eye protection: Staring at an eclipse can permanently damage your eyes. There is so much intense light coming from the Sun that your retina could not compensate and its cells would burn out creating severe visual impairments and possible blindness. Since there are no pain receptors in the retina, you would not be able to feel the injuries and would not be aware of them until hours later, when the effects begin to appear .
  2. Regular sunglasses are not solar filters: Only use solar filters which are designated to provide an effective barrier against the Sun's rays. Your sunglasses are not made for that purpose and will not protect you from injuries.
  3. Cameras, binoculars and telescopes need filters too: Do not look at the eclipse with these objects if they are not equipped with a special solar filter, or you will be subject to the same damages as you would be with the naked eye.
  4. Make sure the solar filters you buy and use are in excellent condition: A tiny hole in the lens or frame of the filters could make them inefficient to protect your eyes. In any event, even with solar filter on, do not stare at the sun for extended periods.

For more information on safe viewing of the eclipse and instructions for making projection devices, follow the YES I Can! Science link below to curriculum-linked classroom activities.

Linked to expectations of the Grade 6 Space strand of the Pan-Canadian Science Curriculum, the guide includes explanations, demonstrations, diagrams and investigations to assist students in understanding and safely viewing solar eclipses. This guide may be adapted for use with both older and younger students and will meet skill expectations for initiating and planning as well as performing and recording.


YES I Can! Science

science@yesican.yorku.ca