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The Total Solar Eclipse: A Magical and Once-in-a-Lifetime Occurrence

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

On April 8, 2024, a truly extraordinary and once-in-a-lifetime event unfolded over Canada, the United States, and Mexico — a total solar eclipse. This celestial rarity, a phenomenon that occurs when the moon moves over the sun, casting a shadow and concealing the sun’s view, partially or totally, was a unique spectacle. 

It’s a privilege to witness this celestial dance, which is only possible during a full moon when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth than the sun.

On Monday afternoon, April 8, 2024, at 3:20 p.m. EST, a moment of pure exhilaration unfolded as thousands of Canadians across southern Ontario witnessed the solar eclipse’s most extended total duration: 4 minutes and 28.13 seconds. 

This extended duration increased the excitement and made the event even more memorable. The total solar eclipse was a thrilling experience, with its unique path, timing, and form of radiation, making it more compelling than the solar eclipse on August 17, 2017. 

It lasted longer, and the sun was more active, much brighter, and looked like a diamond ring as the moon passed in front of the sun, blocking parts and then the total sun.

In Canada, the path of totality, known as the area where the moon completely covers the sun, passed through cities like Kingston, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Prince Edward County, and parts of southern Quebec. 

This is significant because it’s the only place to see the total eclipse. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands gathered at Niagara Falls alone to witness and not miss this rare and once-in-a-lifetime experience, highlighting the event’s widespread interest and excitement. 

There are four kinds of solar eclipses to watch: total eclipses, when the moon completely covers the sun; annular eclipses, when the moon is closer to the sun and appears smaller than the sun, where a ring of light is always visible; partial eclipses when the sun and the moon are not perfectly aligned and only a part of the sun gets blocked by the moon; and hybrid eclipses, in which the eclipse shifts between annular and total ones.

How can you watch future solar eclipses? 

Ensuring your safety while viewing solar eclipses is of utmost importance. Wearing eclipse glasses with filters designed to watch eclipses by international standards (ISO) is crucial. Regular sunglasses will not protect the eyes and can damage them, causing partial or complete loss of eyesight. Taking these safety measures allows you to enjoy the celestial spectacle without any risks.  

When is the next total solar eclipse? 

The following annular solar eclipse will be visible in eastern Canada on October 2, 2024, and the following partial eclipse will be visible on March 29, 2025. The next total solar eclipse in the country happens on August 22, 2044, with eastern British Columbia and parts of Alberta experiencing totality. 

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Mijgon Azim

Toronto MU '25

A student at TMU.