On April 8, the sky will temporarily darken as a total solar eclipse is expected to pass across North America. 

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the face of the sun. 

In Moose Jaw, the eclipse will occur during a two-hour window from around 11:50 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. While it is a total solar, we will only get about 40 per cent coverage here in Saskatchewan.

Vance Petriew, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Regina Centre, said a total eclipse is fairly rare. 

“They do happen once or twice a year at the most. Sometimes you can go for quite a few years without having anything in your local area,” he said. 

While staring directly at the sun can damage your eyes, Petriew said there are a few ways you can watch the eclipse safely. He recommended solar glasses or number 14 welding glasses. He said number 10 welding glasses are often used but are not dark enough. 

If you don’t have fancy equipment to protect your eyes, Petriew said there are other ways to safely watch the eclipse. 

“The easiest way is to actually use like a pinhole camera. Take a piece of paper, put a little pinhole in it and hold it up against the wall. You’ll see the sun projected on the wall,” he said. 

He added that weather could play a role in viewing the solar eclipse. You may not get a good glimpse of the event if the sky is too cloudy. 

If you happen to be in the Regina area during the eclipse, the Kalium Observatory at the Saskatchewan Science Centre will be open to the public on April 8. 

“We’ll have solar glasses there for anybody that’s interested in wanting to pick up a pair, and obviously we’re using solar filters and doing some projections to be able to see the sun with pin holes and stuff like that. So, that’s free and open to anybody,” said Petriew. 

For those interested in stargazing in general, the Kalium Observatory is open to the public free of charge on April 12 and 19 starting at 8 p.m. each day. You can find out more at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Regina Centre website.