Winnipeg, Manitoba: October 6, 2023 – On Saturday, October 14, the worlds will align as the Moon will pass in front of the Sun as seen from the Earth, creating a solar eclipse viewable from our province.
In light of this solar phenomenon, the Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium is joining forces with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Winnipeg Centre and the Assiniboine Park Conservancy to host a free solar eclipse viewing party from 10am to 1pm in the Kitchen Garden at The Leaf in Assiniboine Park. Special solar telescopes will be accessible to provide safe views of the eclipse for attendees.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with other nature-based community organizations to create a fun opportunity for people to witness this solar spectacle,” said Jody Watson, Senior Director of Programming & Education, Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “The Park is a place where people can learn about the world around us, from the grass below to the skies above!”
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and casts its shadow onto the Earth. The October 14 eclipse will occur when the Moon is near its farthest point from Earth, and so the Moon appears slightly smaller than the Sun. For viewers on the center line of the eclipse, the Moon will cross the center of the Sun but won’t quite cover it, leaving a thin ring of bright sunlight visible: an annular or “ring of fire” eclipse. Viewers on either side of the center line will see a partial eclipse. From southern Manitoba, the Moon will cover about half of the Sun’s diameter at maximum (less for those farther north or east).
“Eclipses are fascinating to watch, and they also show us that we know what we’re talking about in terms of how the solar system works. Astronomers can predict when and where an eclipse will occur down to the second, and if we didn’t have a good understanding of the mechanics, we wouldn’t be able to do that,” says Scott Young, Planetarium Astronomer at The Manitoba Museum.
The eclipse will begin at 10:28 a.m. CDT for Winnipeg when the Moon first begins to cover the sun (moving in from the bottom right). Over the next two-and-a-half hours the Moon will move across the Sun from right to left. Maximum eclipse occurs at 11:42 a.m. CDT, and the eclipse ends at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
“I love watching eclipses, whether it’s a partial one like this one, or the total solar eclipse that came through Winnipeg in 1979,” says Young. “Seeing that eclipse as a child made me decide I wanted to be an astronomer, at age 9, and set the course for my career. The sky is inspiring and amazing, and people should take every chance they have to explore it. You never know where it might take you.”
WARNING: DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN WITH UNPROTECTED EYES!
The Sun is always too bright to look at with unprotected eyes – special solar filters are required. Regular sunglasses or other homebuilt options are not enough – a specialized filter material is required.
“When watching an eclipse, safety is important,” says Young. “You can’t just use sunglasses or order some cheap filters online from an unknown source – there are a lot of unsafe fakes out there. Purchase new eclipse glasses from a reputable source, don’t try to save pennies and put your eyesight at risk for life.”
Certified safe solar eclipse glasses can be purchased for $3 at the Manitoba Museum’s reception desk 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, leading up to eclipse day. Limited numbers *may* be available at the eclipse viewing party.