Members of the The St. John's Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in cooperation with Parks Canada held a solar eclipse viewing session at the Signal Hill National Historic Site on Wednesday Aug 11 from 6 AM to 8 AM.

Signal Hill is where Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal and is just a few kilometers from the most easterly point of North America (Cape Spear).

At the session 8 telescopes and several binoculars were setup for public viewing. Approximately 120 Solar Screen Eclipse viewers were distributed to the public.
Maximum solar coverage in St. John's was at 07:00 AM approximately with the sun at 11 degrees.

It was a beautiful clear day and the sun rose out of the ocean with approximately 500 people watching from Signal Hill. As the eclipse progressed there was a slight temperature drop and a noticeable change in the colour of light. At maximum, objects were bathed in a steely-grey light.

Media coverage of the event included local TV (NTV) and newspapers (Telegram), national TV (Newsworld) and national newspapers (National Post, Globe & Mail, Canada Press)


The following (unless otherwise credited) were taken with a Meade 97E telescope prime focus (1000 mm), Thousand Oaks solar filter, 1/1000 sec on Kodak 400. (Remember that its just after sunrise !)
(* Crowd pictures courtesy of Gerard White)

Crowd Scene *
Crowd Scene
Crowd Scene
Crowd Scene
Randy's Telescope
Randy doing a Live Radio Interview *
First Contact, Sun at 5 degrees
Partial Phase
Partial Phase
Partial Phase
Partial Phase
Approaching Maximum
Just after Maximum
Approaching Last Contact
Last Contact

Randy's Eclipse 99 Animation

A number 14 welders glass will do as a filter. Solar Screen mylar is the best economical filter, while I use a Thousands Oaks filter for small telescope filtering - gives a pleasing color :) .

The sun will be quite low in the sky for most of the event so you'll need an unobstructed view in the region of sunrise. At the start of the eclipse, the sun will be only a few degrees off the horizon, and only about 11 degrees at maximum coverage, so perhaps the next clear morning you can get up in time to see where the sun is from 6 - 8 AM in your neighbourhood.

CAUTION: Never view the sun without proper adequate filtering. This eclipse may be particularly dangerous for viewing if its partially cloudy on the horizon and you may be thinking its safe to view with binoculars -it isn't. Don't forget that if you use a filter, you also have to filter any direct viewfinder.

A simple observing method (although cumbersome for this elipse, given the low angle) is to make a pinhole projector. Take a small mirror, tape or otherwise cover all but a 1/4 inch square area of the mirror surface. Angle the mirror so that it reflects the sun onto a nearby surface. You'll have to adjust for the proper distance by experiment, but you'll see an image of the sun that you can record safely (image size will be about 1 inch for each 10 feet of projection). You can also stick a pencil hole in an index-sized card and project the image onto a second card a few feet away.

You'll need at least a 500mm lens for a camera to show a reasonable solar image, I use a 1000mm spotting scope with a solar filter.

St. John's Eclipse Simulation

Links to Solar eclipse WEB pages

Nasa Eclipse Page
Eclipse Photography