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When, where and how to watch the solar eclipse in Vancouver

The peak of the solar eclipse is happening Monday 10:21 a.m.

Clayton Uyeda and his wife Jo will be enjoying the partial eclipse while traveling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ferry terminal on the mainland.

Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press

Clayton Uyeda and his wife Jo will be enjoying the partial eclipse while traveling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ferry terminal on the mainland.

People in Vancouver are in one of the best spots to see the solar eclipse happening Monday morning. The moon will cover about 86 per cent of the sun at the peak of the solar eclipse, happening at 10:21, according to Derek Kief, an astronomer with the MacMillan Space Centre. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of the solar eclipse experience.

1. It's a rare sight

Solar eclipses are not rare but it is rare for a solar eclipse to be visible to such a large number of people. The last time people from across North America could see a solar eclipse was more than a hundred years ago, according to Kief.

In fact, Earth is the only place in the solar system one could see a solar eclipse. The planet is unique because it sits at the right distance between the sun and moon to offer solar eclipses, according to UBC professor, Jaymie Matthews.

“Our moon is 400 times smaller than our sun but it is also 400 times closer. The ratios of diameters and distances are so closely matched that the moon can block out the sun’s disk completely, without blocking out the beautiful halo of light around it,” he said.

“The Earth is the only world in our solar system which offers such a spectacle.”

2. No eclipse glasses? Try this instead.

Never look at the sun directly, whether during a partial solar eclipse or not, says Kief. But if you are unable to get a hold of eclipse glasses Monday, you can still see the eclipse indirectly.

Cast the shadow of a hole onto the ground to represent the sun. You can use whatever you have handy – Kief suggests a piece of a paper with a hole poked through it or a colander.

“You’ll be able to se the solar eclipse indirectly from viewing the ground,” he said.

“If  you have a colander, its really, really cool.”

3. If you are driving…

Monday’s solar eclipse will begin shortly after 9 a.m., at the tail end of rush hour. ICBC has put out a series of recommendations for drivers during the eclipse.

Don’t take a solar selfie while driving

Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving

Turn on headlights during the eclipse

Watch out for pedestrians as there may be more than usual

Drive defensively as drivers may be distracted by the eclipse

4.Head over to a viewing party

There will be eclipse glasses, telescopes, and presentations available at these locations.

MacMillan Space Centre

  • 8:45 a.m. – noon
  • Admission by donation

UBC, plaza near AMS Student NEST 6133 University Blvd.

  • 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Free admission

Science World

  • 9 a.m. - noon
  • Free admission

Robson Square, hosted by UBC Astronomy Club

  • 9:10 – 11:37 a.m.
  • Free admission 

5. Follow Metro reporter David P. Ball in Oregon, where the moon will fully block the sun.  

Residents there are expecting major traffic delays as people from all over the world flock to the major viewing spots. David will be live tweeting the event starting at 7 a.m. @davidpball 

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