Lethbridge will see a partial solar eclipse on Monday, April 8

Around noon on Monday, April 8, residents of Lethbridge and the surrounding area will have the opportunity to witness a partial solar eclipse, an awe-inspiring event that will captivate observers of all ages.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon travels between an observer and the sun. In other words, an eclipse occurs when the Earth, moon and sun become aligned. Typically, a total solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on Earth every 18 months. For the upcoming April 8 event, the total solar eclipse is only visible along the eastern parts of North America. While Lethbridge will not experience a total solar eclipse, the partial phase is still an extraordinary event to see.

“We look forward to sharing this unforgettable experience with the community and fostering a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the cosmos,” says Dr. Locke Spencer, Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at ULethbridge.

For observers in the Lethbridge area, the eclipse will start just after 11:45 a.m., reach its maximum at 12:43 p.m. and end at 1:41 p.m. At its peak, just over 30 per cent of the sun’s area will be blocked by the moon (that’s about four per cent more eclipse than Calgary), creating a breathtaking celestial display, says Spencer.

To celebrate this cosmic occurrence, the Lethbridge Astronomy Society is hosting an observing event for the public. Participation is free, but space is limited and advanced registration is required. If the sky is overcast, they will stream footage from somewhere with good viewing conditions. Details are available on the Lethbridge Astronomy Society website and Facebook pages.

Safety is of paramount importance when observing a solar eclipse. Looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection can cause permanent eye damage. Therefore, Spencer says their department emphasizes using approved solar viewing glasses and other safe viewing methods to ensure a memorable and secure experience for all attendees. Resources for safe eclipse viewing are available at NASA.

“Whether you're a seasoned stargazer or someone experiencing the wonders of the cosmos for the first time, we encourage you to make some time to witness this event,” says Spencer. “There are plenty of ways to safely observe an eclipse using supplies from your own home including making a pinhole projector or even using a spaghetti colander.”