Partial solar eclipse in the early afternoon –

This Saturday, a partial solar eclipse, called an annular eclipse, will be visible in Canada. Residents of southwestern British Columbia will be best placed to view this eclipse in the morning, but the moon will also more discreetly obscure the sun to the east in the early afternoon.

In Quebec, the solar eclipse will be visible between 12:11 and 2:23 p.m., the Astronomical Society of the Planetarium of Montreal (SAPM) states on its website.

In Montreal, the sun will be eclipsed by a maximum of 17% during the eclipse maximum at 1:17 p.m. However, elsewhere in Canada the maximum could be 79%, it says.

In Toronto, the maximum eclipse will occur at 1:10 p.m., when 27% of the star will be covered.

A map of North America.

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The degree of obscuration of the sun varies greatly depending on where you are.

Photo: NASA (Graeme Bruce, Allison Cake/CBC)

Even though most of the sun will be covered this weekend, don’t expect a real decrease in daylight. This also includes not looking directly at the sun without appropriate protection.

You should always observe the sun carefully and make sure the method you use is safe, says Paul Delaney, professor emeritus in the department of physics and astronomy at York University in Toronto. The projected image is undoubtedly the best way: it involves projecting an image of the Sun from a telescope onto a piece of paper or other medium.

There are also online viewing options if you don’t have eye protection or the sky is cloudy.

NASA will stream the eclipse on its YouTube channel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. EST.

What is an annular solar eclipse?

During an annular solar eclipse, the Moon is slightly further from Earth than during a total solar eclipse, and therefore its diameter appears slightly smaller than the Sun’s from our perspective – creating this orange ring.

The moon is in front of the sun and creates a ring of light.

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A total annular solar eclipse.

Photo: Canadian Space Agency

While solar eclipses of any kind occur somewhere on Earth twice a year on average, annular eclipses are less common, says Professor Delaney.

For the annular solar eclipse to occur, the moon must be further from Earth than usual and correctly aligned with the sun. This combination occurs on average every two to three years.

The Sun is about 400 times larger than the Moon, but also 400 times further away, which is why the two stars appear similar in size from Earth.

The next total solar eclipse will be visible in Canada on April 8th. The shadow band of the eclipse’s maximum will then extend over Mexico, the United States and eastern Canada. This time it will be Canadians in parts of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador who will have the best views.

With information from The Canadian Press, AFP and CBC.