Free eclipse glasses available in Hamilton next month


Published March 22, 2024 at 2:00 pm

eclipse glasses hamilton burlington waterdown

If you live in Hamilton or Burlington and want to get your hands on some eclipse glasses before April 8, you might be able to grab a free pair at an upcoming Royal Astronomical Society of Canada–Hamilton Centre meeting. 

Recently, a poster took to Reddit to announce that the Hamilton chapter of RASC will be giving away glasses at its next meeting on April 4. has verified the information. 

The meeting will be held at the Waterdown Legion (79 Hamilton St. N.) at 8:00 p.m. and the glasses will be available from 7:00 p.m. onwards. 

A total solar eclipse is a rare celestial event that always generates excitement, but next month’s version is expected to be unusually spectacular.

The April 8 eclipse that will occur over a large swath of North America, following a path that takes in parts of southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, comes as the sun’s magnetic activity is at the peak of an 11-year cycle. That means that during the brief period when the moon totally covers the sun, a show of streamers and magnetic loops will dance around the obscured sun.

Paul Bryans, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, told the Canadian Press that during times of low activity, the sun’s corona—the tendrils of light that show the outer limits of the sun’s energetic atmosphere—is homogeneous and symmetrical. But this year, he said, the heightened magnetism will make the sun’s outer edges spiky like a hedgehog with its quills raised.

“So you have got lots of spikes and activity coming up in different places, and it’s hard to really predict exactly where they will be,” Bryans told CP. “But if you’re looking at the eclipse, you wouldn’t see a nice, smooth corona. You’ll see, oh, jagged hedgehog in fear.”

Normally, the blinding brightness of the sun means the activity cannot be seen with the naked eye, but the eclipse provides an opportunity to see the shards of light shooting out from the darkened sun. 

Experts warn that eye damage can result if you look directly at the sun, even during a partial eclipse, without protective eclipse glasses. When the moon completely blocks the sun, however, glasses can be removed to observe the sun’s whitish corona.

Even people who are not members of RASC can access the glasses at the meeting while supplies last, as meetings are open to the public. 

The April 4 meeting will also feature a presentation on the upcoming eclipse. 

The RASC said the glasses, made by American Paper Optics (which is endorsed by the American Astronomical Society), will be provided by McMaster University. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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