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To Be or Not to Be Eclipsed: The Path of Totality!

Olga Michalopoulos (Retired)

A rare phenomenon that only comes around once in a lifetime is set to take place in Ontario this spring. A total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024 will turn daytime into darkness in Ontario, and we have an opportunity to share this experience with our students. The last time a total solar eclipse took place in Canada was August 2008, but it was only visible in Nunavut.

Did you know that the chance of seeing a total solar eclipse in any one location on the Earth is about once every 400 years? For instance, the next total solar eclipse to be visible in the GTA won’t occur until October 26, 2144! This is why it’s referred to as a “once in a lifetime” event.

First, a little astronomy background. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on the Earth that either partially or completely blocks the light from the Sun on the areas of the Earth where the shadow falls. Read More...

Calculating a Planet’s Temperature

Shawn Brooks, UTS (University of Toronto Schools)

With just a little coaxing, and a little help from their calculators, our grade 10 science students can use a simple energy-balance type of climate model to calculate the average temperature of a planet.

With this activity, your students will be able to calculate what the earth’s average surface temperature would be if it didn’t have a greenhouse gas containing atmosphere.

This one-period activity can show your students how the numerical value of Earth’s albedo (0.3) is very meaningful to our planet’s temperature! If you are looking to inject a little more physics into your Earth and Space Science: Climate Change unit, this might be the thing for you. Read More...
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