February 17th, 2018

Roberts chasing the solar eclipse

By Kuhl, Nick on August 21, 2017.

Demi Knight

Southern Alberta Newspapers – Vulcan

For the first time in 45 years a total solar eclipse will spread darkness through the sky in parts of North America.

One man from Vulcan will follow its trail south into the United States for a heightened experience.

Neel Roberts, who is an avid star gazing enthusiast, is hoping to maximize this potential once-in-a-lifetime experience by travelling to Idaho where the solar eclipse can better be seen.

Roberts says this is an opportunity everyone should grab on to and appreciate.

“The sky goes so dark, you can see the stars for about two minutes. Also, the birds and animals all go quiet since they think it’s night,” he says.

Roberts will begin his day-long journey from Vulcan to a settlement in Smith Ferry, Id., where he will get one of the maximum views of this decade’s space treasure.

The total solar eclipse will begin this morning over the Pacific ocean. As time moves on, the moon’s central shadow will start to move inland, and will reach the western border of Idaho where Roberts will reside at 10:10 a.m.

Although Idaho is not claimed to be the central spot to view this eclipse, Roberts says it was the closest place to his current location in Alberta to drive to and still see the eclipse in its entirety.

The maximum point of the eclipse, as a matter of fact, will take place near Hopkinsville in Kentucky at 1:20 p.m. in their local time zone. At this point the eclipse will last a full two minutes and 40 seconds.

Although Roberts is familiar with finding beauty in the stars, he says he’s never seen a total solar eclipse in its entirety this close to home before.

“Like most people in North America, I’ve never seen a total solar eclipse near home. Most happen in remote areas like oceans, deserts and Timbuktu. In fact, only 75 per cent of the eclipse will be seen in Canada which will barely show.”

Although the eclipse can be seen throughout Canada, there is nowhere in the country that will be able to see the full coverage. Victoria, B.C., will have the best positioning to see almost 91 per cent of the overall eclipse.

Calgary and Lethbridge will see smaller fractions of 81 per cent, but St. John’, N.L., will see the smallest portion of the eclipse at only 43 per cent.

The immeasurable tranquility and beauty that can be found during these total solar eclipses are rare to come by and Roberts is planning on doing all that he can, to get the most out of it.

“I’m using bino filters and solar eclipse glasses to watch the event.”

Roberts says these can be found at: http://www.allstartelescope.com/sales/index.php?cPath=216 for anyone within the area looking to enjoy the eclipse from their own backyard.

Even though these beautiful moments are rare, there will be another local total solar eclipse in seven years on April 8, 2024, and one in Alberta’s very location 27 years from now on Aug. 23, 2044.

Roberts described his love for these events as “moments legacies are made of” and is excited to have the chance to view this solar eclipse in all its glory this month.

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