Partial Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017

A total solar eclipse will occur across North America on August 21. Solar eclipses happen when the Moon blocks our view of the Sun (read more about how eclipses work). From PEI, the eclipse will be seen as a partial solar eclipse – at the eclipse maximum, the Sun will be about half covered by the Moon, as shown in this simulation of the eclipse. The eclipse will start at 2:42pm, reach maximum at 3:50pm, and end at 4:54pm.

How the eclipse will appear across Canada and the USA. Image via http://www.discovertheuniverse.ca/

It is very important that you do not look at the Sun unless you are using safe, approved Sun viewing equipment – and sunglasses do NOT count as safe!

So how can you view the eclipse safely?

Attend an eclipse viewing event

Eclipse glasses

We’ll be hosting an eclipse viewing on August 21 from 2:30-5:00pm on the UPEI campus. We’ll have glasses that you can wear to view the Sun safely plus special solar telescopes that will provide a safe, magnified view of eclipse. There will also be some fun activities for all ages to learn about eclipses and our solar system.

Our eclipse event will take place outside of the School of Sustainable Design Engineering building (building #30 on campus map) from 2:30-5:00pm. The eclipse maximum will occur at 3:50pm (the moment that the Sun will be the most covered by the Moon), but if you stop in at any time during the event you’ll get to see the Moon partially blocking our Sun and look at the Sun’s features through a telescope.

The eclipse viewing event will be held outside and inside the entrance of the SSDE building (indicated by orange star on the map). Parking is available in UPEI Lots D & E and the MacLauchlan Arena lot.

UPEI Physics’ hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.

In the event the sky is completely clouded over, we’ll watch NASA’s live-stream of the eclipse and we’ll still have some fun activities relating to our Sun, Moon, and solar system.

There may also be an eclipse viewing event taking place in western PEI. Check the Athena Community Astronomy Club’s Facebook page for updates as they are considering hosting an event.

Prepare to view the eclipse safely at home

If you can’t attend a public eclipse event, you can still view the eclipse safely at home, provided that you do a bit of preparation. Below are several safe viewing methods that you can try depending on what materials are available to you. Try them out on a regular sunny day to practice so that you are ready once the big eclipse day comes around.

Photographing the eclipse safely

If you think you’d like to photograph the eclipse, read these tips on how to do it safely and still get good pictures.

The next TOTAL Solar Eclipse for PEI?

The eclipse this year is only a partial one for PEI, but don’t despair – we should get to see a total eclipse in the coming years. On April 8, 2024, the path of a total solar eclipse will pass directly over western PEI. Mark your calendars!

The total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. Image via https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2024-april-8?n=1207#

Summer Solar Viewings

NOTE: The viewing location for the August 2 and August 21 sessions has changed to the grassy area outside of the SSDE Student Entrance doors.

Our hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.

We have scheduled several solar viewing sessions for the summer. We’ll view the Sun’s chromosphere with our hydrogen-alpha (red light) solar telescope and we may also set up another telescope to do some viewing of the photosphere in white light. These viewings will go ahead so long as the sky is not clouded over and we can see the Sun. (This post will be updated in the event of weather-related cancellations).

The scheduled viewing dates are:
Tuesday July 4, 12:00-1:00pm
Wednesday July 19, 3:00-4:00pm
Wednesday, August 2, 1:00-2:00pm
Monday, August 21, 2:30-5:00pm: Special Partial Solar Eclipse session!
The solar viewing sessions will be held outside the entrance to the SSDE building (building #30 on the campus map). (NOTE: The first two sessions were scheduled for the green roof, but the location has changed for subsequent viewings).

Solar viewing sessions will take place near the entrance to the SSDE building. Parking is available in the MacLauchlan Arena lot.

The solar viewings will take place in the grassy areas outside of the entrance to the SSDE building.

July Public Viewing

Our next public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, July 22 from 9:45-11:00PM.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.

It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.Observatory Location & Parking

In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.

If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled or postponed. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation or postponement.

June Public Viewing – CANCELLED

UPDATE (10:40AM, June 24): It doesn’t look like the weather will clear up in time for the telescope viewing tonight, so we will have to cancel. We’re scheduling another nighttime viewing on July 22 and will also be scheduling some daytime solar viewing sessions starting in July. Watch for posts to this blog next week as details are confirmed.

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Our next public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, June 24 from 10:00-11:00PM. Since this viewing is scheduled not long after the summer solstice, the sun will be setting very late so we will have a later, shorter viewing than usual. But there will be two planets visible in the sky – Saturn and Jupiter, so if the weather cooperates we should have an interesting viewing.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.

It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.Observatory Location & Parking

In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.

If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled or postponed. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation or postponement.

April 29 Public Viewing – CANCELLED

UPDATE (12:15pm Apr 29): With showers forecast for tonight and the sky not clearing until after midnight, we have to cancel the scheduled viewing.

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Our next public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 from 8:30-10:30PM. As it will be twilight during the first 30 minutes or so of the viewing, we’ll look at the crescent Moon mostly during that period. Once it’s fully dark, Jupiter will be a good viewing candidate, and we may look at some other interesting sights also.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.

It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.Observatory Location & Parking

In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.

If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled or postponed. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation or postponement.