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Clear skies forecasted for Metro Vancouver during Monday's solar eclipse

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DH Vancouver Staff Aug 20, 2017 12:58 pm 7,137

There won’t be clouds or wildfire smoke hovering over the skies of Metro Vancouver when the once-in-a-generation celestial phenomenon happens on Monday morning.

According the latest forecast issued by Environment Canada, clear skies can be expected throughout the day, especially when the moon begins its transit in front of the sun, thanks to a high pressure area building in the Pacific Northwest.

Clear skies expected over Metro Vancouver on Monday, August 21, 2017 when the solar eclipse happens. Forecast is subject to change. (Environment Canada)

Eclipse schedule and coverage

In Vancouver, the solar eclipse begins at 9:09 am with a partial totality when the moon touches the sun’s edge. From this point onwards, the skies will gradually become darker over the course of more than an hour as it reaches close to full.

The eclipse will reach maximum totality – about 86% coverage in this part of the world – at 10:21 am and disappear at 11:37 am, when the moon leaves the sun’s edge.

  • 9:09 am – Partial eclipse begins (Direction: 104°; Altitude: 27.6°)
  • 10:21 am – Maximum eclipse reached (Direction: 120°; Altitude: 38.2°)
  • 11:37 am – Partial eclipse ends (Direction: 143°; Altitude: 47.5°)

Trajectory of the solar eclipse in Metro Vancouver.

The sun’s expected movement on Monday, August 21, 2017 in Metro Vancouver. The yellow straight line represents the direction of sunrise while the orange straight line represents the location of the sun at 9:06 am when the solar eclipse begins. The thin orange curve shows the sun’s trajectory. (SunCalc.net)

Depiction of the solar eclipse’s maximum over Metro Vancouver.

What the solar eclipse will approximately look like in Vancouver when it reaches maximum at 10:21 am on Monday, August 21, 2017. (timeanddate.com)

Unlike the movement of the sun, the eclipse will move from the West Coast to the East Coast of North America.

A map showing the path of the total solar eclipse as it passes across the US. (Nasa.gov)

A map showing the path of the total solar eclipse as it passes across the USA. (NASA)

Safety first: don’t risk it

While it may be tempting, do not stare at the sun directly as you will put yourself at great risk for severe, permanent eye damage.

“Solar retinopathy is permanent vision loss, and it is possible after viewing an eclipse (as powerful as the one we’re about to experience) after mere seconds,” Dr. Tej Dhaliwal, an optometrist at South Vancouver’s Image Optometry, told Daily Hive.

“The damage doesn’t often show up immediately, it could occur within a few hours to several days after, but it is permanent.”

If you are wearing eclipse filtering lenses, he stressed that they have to be certified.

“If you absolutely must view the eclipse, you have to wear certified, approved, specific filtering lenses,” he said. “There are numerous ‘fake solar eclipse glasses’ out there, thus please confirm that yours meet the correct ISO standards and are from a reputable vendor.”

Alternatively, as authentic filtering lenses are now a rare commodity, another way to view the eclipse, albeit indirectly, is by making yourself a pinhole projector to observe the shadow of the moon as it passes over the sun.

It requires rudimentary materials: a few pieces of cardboard and aluminum foil. DIY instructions can be found here.

A DIY bow pinhole projector allows viewers to safely watch a solar eclipse (timeanddate.com)

A DIY box pinhole projector allows viewers to safely watch a solar eclipse (timeanddate.com)

But if you do not have filtering glasses or a pinhole projector, do not view the eclipse.

“Facing a lifetime of vision loss for only a few moments of pleasure and glory… absolutely not worth it,” he said. “Ultimately there is only one real way to view the solar eclipse, and that is not viewing it at all.”

“Be smart and don’t risk a lifetime of vision loss over a few seconds of pleasure.”

With files from Chandler Walter.

See also

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DH Vancouver Staff
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