A total solar eclipse, like the one coming Monday Apr. 8, 2024, has not been seen in eastern Ontario since 1925. No wonder school’s out

Orbax, a physicist and science communicator at the University of Guelph’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, says the upcoming eclipse marks a “legitimate once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

“The eclipse’s path cuts its way through eastern Ontario and eastern Canada for the first time since 1925, and this won’t happen again until 2144,” Orbax says. 

“Near the centre of the path, like in Niagara Falls, you’ll experience 3.5 minutes of totality—complete blockage of the sun. If you’re near the edge, like in Hamilton, this will be closer to two minutes.”

Orbax stands in front of the moon with his hands outstretched, as if he were holding a ball, and looks right into the camera.
Orbax, Department of Physics science communicator

In Ontario, the eclipse will start around 2 p.m. EST and end around 4:30 p.m., with maximum coverage around 3:20 p.m.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon aligns between the Earth and the sun, blocking our view of the sun completely and showing only its outermost atmosphere, or corona. Although total eclipses are not necessarily rare, Orbax says, viewing one in the same location is only possible every few hundreds of years.

Orbax recommends a few safety measures, like using fully approved eyewear. Many counterfeit offerings can be dangerous. He recommends a list of approved sellers by the American Astronomical Society.

“Another interesting way to image the eclipse is to create a camera obscura, or a pinhole camera,” Orbax says. “And if you can’t make it to totality, then you should join us at the University of Guelph for a safe viewing experience.”

Orbax, a lecturer in the Department of Physics, is the co-founder of Royal City Science, a non-profit aimed at advancing STEM education. He is also the co-creator of Orbax and Pepper Do Science, an educational series on physics. 

His latest videos break down the eclipse for junior scientists to learn more about this rare event. They are available to watch now

Orbax is available for interviews.