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The What, Why and How of the April 8, 2024 Eclipse

Orbax, Production Specialist for Physics Education Content, Dept of Physics, University of Guelph

Greetings educators! Orbax here from the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph.

I’m here to speak to you today about a very important topic.

You’re likely aware of a newly discovered disease that has been sweeping across Ontario in the last few weeks.

Eclipse fever has taken hold and it’s taking over news broadcasts, school board meetings, targeted ads and classrooms throughout our province.

And with good reason. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now the last total solar eclipse in the Greater Toronto Area occurred back in 1925, and there won’t be another one until 2144!
Incidentally, the path of totality for the total solar eclipse taking place on October 26, 2144 will sweep all the way from Owen Sound down to Chatham covering most of Southern Ontario. I highly recommend you make plans to take the day off!

Now taking the hype with a grain of salt, it is a super cool event even if you aren’t in the path of totality, and as far as I’m concerned any opportunity to get a room full of people talking about the physics behind such an event is one that should be taken.

I’ve received, like many of you, requests from a variety of sources to explain what’s happening in our skies on April 8th and so I decided to create a series of videos for this solar obfuscation. These videos tackle the following questions.

‘What is an eclipse?’

‘Why is this eclipse interesting?’

‘How do I observe this eclipse?’

To accompany these videos, I also created an educator’s resource page of reliable links that cover the science, show interactive maps, and outline safe viewing procedures related to the upcoming celestial phenomenon along with video resources from NASA licensed for creative commons which may be useful in the classroom or to create your own videos.

I hope these resources can be of use to you as you shed some light on what may be an otherwise dark afternoon.
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