10/23/2014 11:03 EDT | Updated 10/23/2014 11:59 EDT

Solar Eclipse Canada: How To Watch The Event Safely

A partial solar eclipse will be viewable across much of North America on Thursday, but experts urged would-be sky watchers to use the proper gear to avoid damaging their eyes.

The eclipse will be visible when the moon passes in front of the sun, obscuring just about half its bright light, in the late afternoon of October 23.

The northeast region of the continent will likely miss the event because the sun will be setting by the time the moon moves into position. A tiny bite may be visible at sunset.

But people on the west coast should see 45 per cent of the sun's diameter covered at 3:38 pm local time (2238 GMT).

In Vancouver and Seattle, almost two-thirds of the sun should be covered at 2200 GMT, and the eclipse will cover just over half the sun for viewers west of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.

Rather look up, people are advised to use special solar filters made of black polymer, not regular sunglasses.

"The sun is so bright that even through ordinary sunglasses you can damage your eyes if you stare at it," said Jay Pasachoff, a professor at Williams College in Massachusetts and chair of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Eclipses.

Another other option for looking directly at the sun is to do so through a welder's glass, number 12, 13, or 14.

To safely see the eclipse indirectly, punch a hole a quarter of an inch (half centimetre) into a piece of cardboard. With the sun at your back, use that hole to project its image on the ground or on a wall.

A more dramatic total solar eclipse is in store for Canada and the United States on August 21, 2017.


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