FREDERICTON – For Canadians who had to watch television to get the best view of Monday’s total solar eclipse, just wait until the next one in seven years when the path of totality crosses parts of central Canada, the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
Chris Weadick of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada said he expects many of the people who flocked to the central United States to experience Monday’s event will head to eastern Canada for April 8, 2024.
“That shock and awe opportunity of seeing that shadow creeping across the landscape and pass right by you is quite an event and feeling to go through. You can’t really explain it with words, you actually have to experience it,” he said.
The path in 2024 will cross the southern tips of Ontario and Quebec, central New Brunswick, western P.E.I. and central Newfoundland.
“I can see the opportunity for Canadian groups to get together and promote the event. It will be a great opportunity for tourism,” he said.
Catherine Lovekin, an astronomy professor at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., said she expects New Brunswick will draw visitors hoping to avoid the crowds in big cities to the west.
“Anyone serious about eclipse chasing will make the venture,” she said.
Lovekin said both Monday’s eclipse and the one expected in 2024 are a great opportunity to get children interested in science.
There was a long line-up of youngsters and their parents Monday afternoon to get into Science East, a science centre in Fredericton.
Stacey Waugh said she thought it was important to bring her four children who had never seen an eclipse before. Her youngest daughter, seven-year-old Josie, was excited to learn that Fredericton will be directly in the path of the one.
“That’s cool,” Josie said, as her mother pointed out that she will be 14-years-old.
Jennifer Gale, a science educator at Science East, was kept busy sharing eclipse filters with children and adults as the crowd grew. She said she expects there will be larger crowds and greater excitement for the next eclipse.
“In seven years when we’re going to be totally in the dark, it will be pretty wild. People will be very excited,” she said.
While much of the country had clear, sunny skies to view the partial eclipse Monday, Weadick said the April date for the next one could be a factor.
“We all know about April showers,” he said.
Weadick said he’ll be watching the forecast, and will be prepared.
“I’ll also have the car packed in case I have to head north or south an hour to catch the sun without clouds,” he said.