Shadow on the Earth

Shadow on the Earth

A Rare Opportunity for Many to Catch a Total Solar Eclipse!

We were pretty excited to learn that a total solar eclipse was scheduled to cross much of eastern Canada on April 8, 2024 and many of us made plans to take in this rare spectacle! (Some of us, and we’re sure even many of you, may have even missed work for part of the afternoon 😉.) After all, the last total solar eclipse seen in Canada happened back on August 1, 2008 in parts of Nunavut. But this one was going to be moving across some of the most populated areas of Canada, allowing many more people to take in the sight without having to travel too far.

Path of Totality of the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse is a celestial event that occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, completely blocking the Sun’s light from a specific area on Earth’s surface. This is an interesting coincidence because the Moon is about 400 times smaller than the sun, but the sun’s about 400 times further away from us than the moon is. This fortuitous geometry makes an eclipse a rare event, occurring somewhere on Earth only every 18 months or so. (It’s also estimated that a total solar eclipse will only recur at any given location every 350–400 years!) A total eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any location because the Moon’s shadow moves at over 1,700 km/h. This particular eclipse lasted up to about 3.5 minutes, depending on where you were located.

The Solar Eclipse Nearing Totality

At Vertex, a group of us ventured outside shortly after 3 pm on Monday to witness near totality (approx. 99%) at our office in Kitchener, Ontario.

Clearly one of us was a little more into the whole space phenomenon thing than the others!

Some of us also became eclipse chasers for the day and headed further south towards the north shore of Lake Erie in hopes of experiencing complete totality. Dodging cloud cover proved possible and we were able to take in this spectacular event!


Totality was totally worth it!

The difference between a 99.9% partial eclipse and a 100% total solar eclipse is literally the difference between day and night. At anything less than totality there is a noticeable chill in the air and the dimmed light takes on an eerie quality, but you still can’t look directly at the sun without eye protection. However, at complete totality you can directly observe the sun’s corona with the naked eye. It is a surreal experience! It feels like sundown except that the sunset is surrounding you on the horizon in all directions. The air is noticeably colder. The darkness feels phantasmagorical. It’s easy to understand why eclipses in ancient times were interpreted as some sort of supernatural omens!

A Chill Was Definitely in the Air in Ottawa (credit Maxim Environmental and Safety Inc.)

During this week’s eclipse, a red solar prominence was even visible on the bottom edge of the sun and the planets Venus and Jupiter could be seen on either site of the occluded orb.

Eclipse Watchers Along the Shore of Lake Erie

Hopefully you also had a chance to take in this spectacular spectacle. If not, don’t worry, the next total solar eclipse that can be seen in Canada will be on August 22, 2044 in parts of Western Canada, mainly Alberta. Mark your calendars!

Here at Vertex, we are all very curious of our world, whether it be shadows on the surface of the Earth or stains in the subsurface. One is a sight to behold; the other is something we can help you deal with via our range of remedial technologies and risk management measures! Ask us how we can help to remove that shadow from your site today: