An eclipse to remember

An eclipse to remember

A composite photo shows the sun at different stages of a solar eclipse as the moon passes in front of it. (Richard McGuire photo)

By Richard McGuire

The South Okanagan was treated to a rare celestial phenomenon on Aug. 21 when a solar eclipse passed across North America.

The band of totality was only about 100 km wide, extending from Oregon to South Carolina, so only viewers in the United States saw a total eclipse.

But, with about 90 per cent of the sun obscured by the moon, the view in the South Okanagan was the next best thing.

As the sun formed a narrower and narrower crescent approaching 10:25 a.m., temperatures became noticeably cooler and the light appeared – as one viewer suggested – like someone turned down a dimmer switch.

An estimated 500 people turned out to Desert Park in Osoyoos to watch the event, and those who couldn’t get protective glasses found ways to improvise or share.

Chris Shortall, from Osoyoos, marvels at the eclipse as it passes its peak and the sun reappears. (Richard McGuire photo)
Michael Spangler, from Edmonton, was in Osoyoos anyway for a wedding, but he used a pinhole camera made from a cracker box to view the eclipse. (Richard McGuire photo)
Liz Esquivias, from Mexico, watched the eclipse using an improvised viewer together with a group of others from Mexico and a few other Latin American countries. The Desert Park Exhibition Society originally sold 250 tickets for their viewing event in Osoyoos based on the number of protective glasses they could obtain. But demand was huge, so many attendees had to improvise. (Richard McGuire photo)
Colton MacPhee, 10, tried out a welder’s helmet to view the eclipse at the Science of the Sun event at Desert Park in Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire photo)