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Partial Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

Come observe this astronomical event in complete safety at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium
Montréal, August 15, 2017 - 

Montréal Space for Life invites everyone to celebrate the partial solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, and enjoy special free activities from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come chat with experts from the Planetarium, Quebec vision professionals* and members of the Société d'astronomie du Planétarium de Montréal (SAPM), who will guide you and be pleased to answer your questions about this astronomical phenomenon and how to observe it safely. In Montréal, the eclipse will be visible from 1:22 to 3:50 p.m., reaching its maximum of 58% at 2:38 p.m.

* Quebec vision professionals include professionals from the Association des médecins ophtalmologistes du Québec, the Ordre des optométristes du Québec and the Ordre des opticiens d'ordonnance du Québec.

A fun and festive line-up

From 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium will be bursting with all kinds of special activities on the theme of the solar eclipse. You can watch a 25-minute show entitled Eclipse, explaining how solar and lunar eclipses happen. Experts from the Planetarium and amateur astronomers will be on hand outdoors to observe the Sun with you, and special protective glasses will be distributed all day on site. You’ll also be able to meet Quebec vision professionals and talk with them about protecting your eyes. And just in case the Montréal weather doesn’t co-operate, images of the total eclipse occurring simultaneously in the United States will be screened live in the Planetarium lobby.


Never look at the Sun without protection!

Vision professionals remind you that you should never look directly at the Sun without an appropriate solar filter, specially designed for this purpose. Your eyes’ health is important, and you should play it safe when enjoying this astronomical phenomenon. If you don’t have glasses with an appropriate filter for watching the eclipse, learn how to make an image of the eclipse using a pinhole projector fashioned from a shoe box, on our site:


What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse can occur only when there is a new Moon lined up with the Sun and the Earth. The Sun is 400 times larger than the Moon, but 400 times farther away from Earth. So when the two bodies are aligned, they seem to us to be about the same size in the sky. A solar eclipse covers only part of the Earth, i.e. the narrow strip in the Moon’s shadow. That’s why they’re so rare! In fact, the next total eclipse of the Sun in North America will not be until April 8, 2024, when Montréal will be in the path of totality. The partial eclipse on August 21, 2017 is a sort of dress rehearsal for the big event!

Information on the solar eclipse:

Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): #Eclipse2017 #Planetarium #Mtl #MtlSpaceforLife


Vision safety is a key part of celebrating the partial solar eclipse The special program on August 21 is the fruit of close co-operation between the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and professionals from the Association des médecins ophtalmologistes du Québec, the Ordre des optométristes du Québec and the Ordre des opticiens d'ordonnance du Québec.


Here's to life!

As we mark our city’s 375th anniversary this year, Montréal Space for Life is saluting life and everything it gives us. Our institutions are hosting a captivating and festive program of activities bringing us all together to celebrate nature that heals, feeds and inspires us. (#Herestolife)

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Contact our team

Karine Jalbert
Chargée de communication
514 872-1453
Dre. Cynthia Qian
Médecin ophtalmologiste
514 880-5986

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