Preparing for the Ontario solar eclipse

Preparing for the Ontario solar eclipse
Apr 02, 2024

The event happens on April 8

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Someone contact Bonnie Tyler because there’s a total eclipse coming.

On April 8, a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, will occur in the afternoon.

The event is scheduled to happen in Ontario beginning around 2:00pm.

Niagara Falls, Ont., is noted as the best place to see the eclipse, with the sun being fully eclipsed for roughly three minutes from 3:20 and 3:23pm.

Farmers will be watching with anticipation.

“I’m looking forward to this one because it’s going to be a total eclipse,” Stuart McCall, owner of McGrows Farms & Gardens in Garson, Ont., told “I’m expecting some dramatic changes.”

When an eclipse last occurred in 2017, McCall noted and graphed the changes on his farm.

“We have a 10-kilowatt solar power generation system on the roof of the house,” he said. “Before the eclipse we were operating at around 8,700 kilowatts. When the eclipse hit, that (energy number) dropped to under 3,000 kilowatts. And that wasn’t even a full eclipse, so I’m interested to see what readings we get this time around.”

The temperature in his greenhouse dropped about 15 degrees. And the relative humidity levels went up from around 55 per cent to over 65 per cent, he said.

The animals on his farm also reacted to the eclipse.

“We’ve got ducks, chickens and geese and it got really quiet,” he said. “They weren’t making any noise, maybe thinking it was nighttime.”

McCall has some tips for farmers to help keep plants safe during this eclipse.

“I wouldn’t overly water before the eclipse because the humidity will come up,” he said. “If you’re in a situation where you have solar panels, make sure you’re not relying on power generation too much during that time. And I don’t think I’d be doing too much transplanting at the time.”

Researchers will also be keeping an eye on plants during the solar event.

Jim Willwerth, an assistant professor specializing in grapevine physiology at Brock University, expects to see some plants display changes.

“Anything that’s leafed out, you’re going to see some tropism effects, where the leaves change direction because of the scattered and reductions in sunlight,” he said. “We’re having an eclipse day here at Brock and that’s one of the experiments we’ll be doing.”

Anyone who wants to watch the eclipse indoors can do so via a NASA livestream beginning at 1pm ET on April 8.

Solar eclipses will also occur in 2026, touching Greeland, Iceland and Spain.

Another one happens in 2027, affecting Spain and nothern Africa.

Parts of the U.S. and Russia will experience an eclipse in 2033.

The next one to affect the U.S. and Canada is slated to happen in 2044.

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