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TVDSB, LDCSB change date of upcoming PA day to align with rare total solar eclipse

The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse in Piedra del Aguila, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The total solar eclipse was visible from the northern Patagonia region of Argentina and from Araucania in Chile, and as a partial eclipse from the lower two-thirds of South America. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse in Piedra del Aguila, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The total solar eclipse was visible from the northern Patagonia region of Argentina and from Araucania in Chile, and as a partial eclipse from the lower two-thirds of South America. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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Local school boards are changing the date of an upcoming PA day in order to align with a rare total solar eclipse, which is set to bathe the region in darkness in early April.

According to the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB), in alignment with other school boards across the province, a PA day previously scheduled for April 19 will be rescheduled to April 8.

A total solar eclipse will be seen across the region from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on April 8, 2024, with the path of totality expected just south of London.

The school boards cite safety concerns, including “diminished levels of daylight and the potential for damaging eye exposure to the sun” for their decision.

The LDCSB said the school board will share educational material and resources with staff and students prior to the eclipse so students can learn more about the rare event.

 

What is a solar eclipse?

The rare celestial event will see parts of Mexico, the United States and Eastern Canada shrouded in darkness when the moon completely blocks out the sun as it traverses across the sky. Because the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, but is also 400 times farther away, it makes the two astronomical bodies appear nearly the exact same size, according to NASA.

In our region, multiple communities along Lake Erie will be in the path of 100 per cent totality — including Port Stanley, St. Thomas and Tillsonburg — and therefore the early April event will be a total solar eclipse.

With London situated slightly north, the city will reach 99.5 per cent totality, therefore culminating in a partial solar eclipse.

The moment of absolute totality will be brief however, lasting only approximately two minutes, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

The last time Canada saw a total solar eclipse was February 1979.

 

How can I view the eclipse?

According to CTVNews.ca, looking at the sun without protection can cause retinal burns and vision loss. It is only safe to remove eye protection in the brief period the sun is completely blocked.

In order to view the eclipse safely, proper eye glasses certified for solar viewing are required. If glasses are unavailable, people can construct a DIY solar eclipse projector. Sunglasses are not safe to use for viewing a solar eclipse.

Additional information on how to safely view a solar eclipse can be found on the Canadian Association of Optometrists website, while additional information on solar eclipses can be found on NASA’s website.

— With files from CTVNews.ca’s Daniel Otis 

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