Countdown to first contact 2:03 p.m. (when the Moon starts to cover the Sun). Totality begins at 3:18 p.m. in Hamilton.
Frequently Asked Questions
Join other McMaster students, faculty, staff, alumni and families to experience the Total Solar Eclipse on campus! We are hosting a viewing part at the Ron Joyce Stadium from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are FREE, but limited to four per McMaster community member. Eclipse glasses provided to attendees.
You should never look at the Sun without proper protection. During most of the total solar eclipse, you can only look directly at the Sun if you are using such protection.
For protection when viewing the Sun, you must wear certified solar eclipse glasses that satisfy the ISO 12312-2:2015 safety standard. Certified glasses are being given out for free by McMaster University to local communities in partnership with libraries. Distribution will begin after February 22 at Hamilton, Norfolk and Haldimand Public Library branches, February 26 at McMaster University libraries, after March 4 at Burlington Public Library branches, Six Nations Public Library and Brantford Public Libraries. We are also working closely with local school groups. Please complete the contact us form on this page to request complimentary glasses courtesy of McMaster University for organizations or large groups. If you are outside of the Hamilton-Burlington areas and wish to order your glasses, please order from a verified reputable source.
Looking directly at the Sun with the naked eye or through any device or filter other than ISO 12312-2:2015 certified eclipse glasses may cause permanent damage and even blindness.
For the brief part of the eclipse known as “totality” (when the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s light), this is the only time when you can view the eclipse without any protection.
If you are using certified eclipse glasses or viewers and are in the path of totality, for the brief part of totality when you can no longer see any part of the Sun through your glasses, it is safe to take your glasses off. When any part of the Sun becomes visible after totality, you must put your glasses back on or look away. If you are not in the path of totality, even at 99.9% coverage, it is never safe to take your glasses off to observe the eclipse. If you are not sure if you will be in the path of totality or if you are not confident about knowing when and how it is safe to observe the eclipse, consider:
- attending an official eclipse event on April 8th, 2024 led by qualified experts, where you will be informed when it is safe to look at the eclipse directly;
- in the Hamilton-Burlington area the McMaster University Department of Physics and Astronomy has a group of eclipse ambassadors available to do presentations to your group prior to the date of the Total Solar Eclipse, complete the contact us form on this page to receive further information
- attending a public eclipse lecture or planetarium show at McMaster University
- arranging a graduate student guest speaker or portable planetarium show at your school, organization or business .
An alternative to eclipse glasses is projecting the Sun using a pinhole projector or box projector. You can make these on your own or order them online. Instructions on how to make these with your students can be provided with your McMaster University Department of Physics and Astronomy presentation or are available through the external resources links on this page.
Photo credit: Image by Ken Yan.
A solar eclipse happens whenever the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes completely between Earth and the Sun.
This results in a narrow shadow zone being cast on Earth that’s known as the path of totality. In the path of totality, you’ll experience all five phases of a total solar eclipse from the first to final contact between the Sun and the Moon.
On April 8th, 2024, the path of totality will move west to east across Mexico, the United States and into Canada. If the weather cooperates, we’ll have a rare opportunity to see part of the Sun’s outer atmosphere (the corona and chromosphere). The bright face of the Sun, known as the photosphere, usually obscures its outer atmosphere.
The last total solar eclipse visible in Hamilton took place January 24, 1925.
After April 8th, 2024, the next total solar eclipse visible in Hamilton won’t happen until October 26, 2144.
The last total solar eclipse in Canada happened in February 1979, with the path of totality crossing through southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, northwestern Ontario and far northern Quebec.
After 2024, the next total solar eclipse in Canada won’t happen for another 20 years.
Photo credit: Image by Ken Yan.
McMaster University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is offering many opportunities to learn more about this once in a lifetime event.
No Cost Options
Solar Viewing Glasses
Distribution will begin after February 22 at Hamilton and Haldimand Public Library branches, February 26 at McMaster University Libraries, after March 4 at Burlington Public Library branches, and at a date to be determined at Six Nations Public Library.
McMaster University Department of Physics and Astronomy has several trained students who are available for presentations on and off campus around the Total Solar Eclipse 2024. To inquire about availability please complete a contact us form on this page.
Large Group Lectures
Throughout the new year, the Department of Physics and Astronomy will be holding regularly scheduled large group lectures at the McMaster University main campus featuring information about the eclipse. All visitors will receive complimentary eclipse viewing glasses to take away and use for the big day! Visit the W.J. McCallion Planetarium website for upcoming dates or complete a contact us form. Dates will be posted by mid January.
Pay per use Options
The W.J. McCallion Planetarium at McMaster University hosts public shows on a variety of topics weekly. Eclipse focused shows are available upon request and scheduling availability. For booking and cost information please visit the W.J. McCallion Planetarium website, or complete a contact us form. There is a fee associated with this option.
Let us come to you! Our portable planetarium is available to visit workplaces and schools in the greater Hamilton area. A trained graduate facilitator will come to your location and provide a presentation on the eclipse.
The portable planetarium seats approximately 30 children or 20 adults. Seating is on the floor with limited chairs available for accommodations for up to 4.
Schools/Non-profit – $150+HST=$169.50 per one hour show, plus travel as applicable.
Corporate – $500 per one hour show, plus travel as applicable
Underserved groups – Free upon approval
For availability or for more information please complete a contact us form.
Photo credit: Image by Ken Yan.
Eclipse2024.org resources (English)
About solar eclipses
How Often Do Solar Eclipses Occur? (TimeAndDate)
Educational websites and organizations
Discover the Universe
Discover the Universe supports science education by providing free, bilingual, easily accessed resources for nation-wide teacher training in astronomy. Information and resources are updated regularly for the 2024 Eclipse in English and French. Subscribe to the 2024 Eclipse newsletter to stay informed on all things 2024 Eclipse.
Located in the exceptional landscape of Mont-Megantic National Park, the ASTROLab is an astronomy activity centre devoted to making science accessible. They are providing a remote school program in French as well as other remote and in person activities. (English, French).
Citizen Science – GAVRT Solar Patrol
Citizen Science – Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast (DEB) Initiative
Time and Date
Providing livestreams since 2016 by partnering with astronomers across the globe, Time and Date brings you images from the best locations with fascinating commentary. Stream will start at noon eastern daylight time. LIVE Stream: Total Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 , and on YouTube: Total Solar Eclipse (Great North American) – April 8, 2024
For the last 20 years, Exploratorium has partnered with NASA to livestream solar eclipses. For this eclipse, they will be streaming from Texas starting at 2:00 pm eastern daylight time. Watch Live Solar Eclipse Broadcasts | Exploratorium
NASA’s live broadcast will include coverage from Texas, Indiana, and Ohio. The broadcast will provide a front-row seat to the eclipse and will feature NASA experts across the country explaining the science behind the eclipse and how NASA studies it. NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV
There are three important reasons why we should start planning now.
The 2024 total solar eclipse will happen during the middle of the afternoon when most Hamiltonians are at work or coming home from school. It’s important than everyone is prepared and knows how to stay safe during the eclipse. Looking directly at the partial phases of a total solar eclipse without specialized protective eyewear can cause severe eye damage.
We should also expect many visitors on April 8th since most of Ontario, including Toronto, will only experience a partial solar eclipse. Don’t be surprised if out-of-town family and friends ask if they can drop by for the day. There are also people who travel the world to experience total solar eclipses.
And like an Arkells concert or a Ticats game, a total solar eclipse will be an ideal communal experience for Hamiltonians. Other communities that have experienced total solar eclipses bring people together for public celebrations.