August 21, 2017 11:07 am
Updated: August 21, 2017 11:19 pm

Solar Eclipse: Vancouver getting in on the viewing of a celestial phenomenon

WATCH: Thousands got up early to check out the first solar eclipse to be seen in our part of the world since 1979. And as Neetu Garcha reports, with almost 90 per cent of the sun blocked by the moon, the skies darkened and the temperature dipped.


More than 100 people are lined up outside of Science World in Vancouver to get a glimpse of the partial eclipse in B.C. this morning.

Science World along with several other locations held solar eclipse viewing events starting at 9 a.m.

In Vancouver, the eclipse began at 9:10 a.m. with the maximum eclipse happening at 10:21 a.m. and ending at 11:37 a.m.

“At that point, as seen from Metro Vancouver, the sun will be 86 or 87 per cent eclipsed,” UBC astronomy professor Jaymie Matthews said.

“The sun will, if you’re looking at it with the right kind of protection of projection from a telescope, look like a very bright crescent moon in the sky.”

WATCH: Solar eclipse in Vancouver

In Victoria as much as 91 per cent of the sun will go dark, which will provide the best view in the country, according to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). Vancouver residents are close behind at 87 per cent.

READ MORE: What Canadians can expect during the solar eclipse on August 21

RASC members will be at the summit with solar telescopes and eclipse viewers from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The University of Victoria will be also be hosting an event from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Karl Miller with RASC  says it will mean a lot to him if just one child takes up astronomy as a hobby.
“I mean, that’s part of my aim, and part of the aim of our organization because it is in the end that carry on our culture, let’s say.”

People keen on viewing the partial eclipse in Vancouver have been lining up since 5:30 a.m.

Adri Fenton

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The UBC Astronomy Club will be at Robson Square from 9:10 a.m. to 11:37 a.m.

H.R. MacMillian Space Centre is also hosting an event from 8:45 a.m. to noon outside the Gordon Southam Observatory.

And UBC’s physics and astronomy department is holding an event from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the UBC Point Grey Campus.

Kat Kelly with Science World says it was nice to see a diverse group of people taking advantage of the opportunity.

“With the last eclipse in North America happening almost one hundred years ago, we didn’t have technology then, we didn’t have cell phones or able to spread the word so this one people can come together, communicate, there’s lots of citizens’ science projects where people can take pictures with their phones and people can come together.”

There may be some sticker shock at the gas pumps for those travelling to get the best views of the solar eclipse.

Prices shot up to almost $1.42 a litre over the weekend, a jump of almost five cents in some places, in anticipation of Monday’s event. Experts say once the eclipse is over, the prices will go back down.

WATCH: An up close look at how people around the province took in the solar eclipse.

Can’t travel? Watch it online

Those that don’t have the time, money or patience to travel (or even leave their work desk) for the celestial event, can opt to watch it online.

The event will be streamed live on NASA’s website, beginning at 12 p.m. ET. According to NASA’s website, the stream will cover the path of totality, additional shots from NASA aircrafts, satellites, and telescopes. More information on how to watch can be found here.

Solar eclipse 2017: Everything Canadians need to know about the event

While Canada won’t get to see a total solar eclipse, several states in the U.S. will see the rare sight when the moon completely covers the sun. The path of totality will stretch from Salem, Ore. to Chaleston, S.C. The total eclipse will last from 10:16 a.m. PT to 2:48 p.m. ET.

When will Canada see a total solar eclipse?

While Canadians won’t get to look up at a total solar eclipse this time, the RASC reports that they will get lucky on April 8, 2024, when one will be visible from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador.

That’ll be 16 years after Canada’s last total solar eclipse, which happened in 2008.

~ with files from Maham Abedi and CKNW

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