April 8 eclipse preparedness – are you ready?

Solar Eclipse
Solar eclipse safety viewing is paramount. The Town of Perth as well as the Perth and District Union Library will have viewing glasses available for the April 8 solar eclipse. On April 6, the library is hosting Frank Hitchens, local astronomer, who will host a free hour-long presentation about the cosmic event, starting at 1 p.m. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Posted on: March 20, 2024

Perth and District Union Library to host local astronomer on April 6


Whether you’re going to watch the April 8 solar eclipse, close the blinds and have a nap, or drive to the perfect viewing spot, there are some precautions to take.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is warning people not to look directly at the sun as it could damage your retinas. 

“I was concerned about the solar eclipse that’s going to happen on April 8,” said town councillor Barry Smith, during his regular update to council. “Ottawa apparently, is in a 95 to 97 per cent totality. We’re south of Ottawa so I figure we’re about 95 per cent for a total eclipse.”

Smith said he wanted to alert citizens to be protected with solar viewing glasses. He’s checked online and “there are many that sell them, but many are sold out at this point.” 

Look for certification number 12312-2 when purchasing solar viewing glasses, Smith cautioned.

The town’s chief administrative officer Michael Touw said he ordered 500 pairs which will be available next week at the front desk of town hall. 

“The health unit has a great website on eclipse safety, it’s really the best spot to go for information,” Touw said. 


The Perth and District Union Library is hosting an event, The Great Solar Eclipse of 2024. This is a free presentation by local astronomer, Frank Hitchens on Saturday, April 6 from 1 to 2 p.m. Free viewing glasses handed out to those in attendance. 

On the day of the eclipse, the library will offer viewing glasses while supplies last – donations would be appreciated. 

Visit this site to find out more about the timing of the eclipse and the areas affected. Here is another simulation map to check out. Or if you don’t want to see it live, you can watch this live stream video

For photo buffs looking to catch that perfect image, a safety viewing lens is also required for cameras. 


Although the moon will be covering most of the sun, it’s still dangerous to look directly at the sun from approximately 2 to 4:30 p.m. when the solar eclipse is happening,” the health unit states. 

“Viewing the sun with your naked eye during the eclipse can burn your retina, damaging the images your brain can view. This phenomenon, known as ‘eclipse blindness,’ can cause temporary or permanent vision impairment, and in worst-case scenarios can lead to legal blindness, which entails significant loss of vision.

“There are no pain sensors in your retinas to indicate that your eyes are being damaged by looking at the sun,” said Dr. Linna Li, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. 

“Symptoms can take 12 to 48 hours to appear and can include retinal burns, permanent or temporary visual loss, and blurred vision. Once symptoms begin, it’s usually too late to reverse any damage. This is why prevention and protection for your eyes is very important.”

It is very dangerous to look directly at the sun at any time, but during an eclipse the temptation to have a quick glance can be very strong. 

Staying inside and avoiding the temptation is the best way to prevent harm to your eyes, but there are protection methods available.

To avoid damaging your retinas when viewing the solar eclipse:

  • Do not view the eclipse at all or use a proper method of blocking the sun’s dangerous rays while viewing
  • Use a filter that blocks all dangerous light – ISO-certified eclipse glasses from a reputable vendor that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. The manufacturer’s name and address must be printed on the product.
  • Do not use any viewer if it has scratched or wrinkled lenses
  • Be careful of anyone trying to offer viewing devices that are not certified
  • Do not use:
    • ordinary sunglasses or multiple pairs of sunglasses
    • Neutral density or polarizing filters, such as those made for camera lenses
    • Smoked glass
    • Photographic or X-ray film (unexposed, exposed or developed)
    • Binoculars or telescope – even with certified glasses
    • There are some promoted household items and homemade filters but this is not the time to experiment with internet fads

Some communities are having mass gathering events to view the eclipse. There may be glasses available at these events or you can go online and order glasses ahead of time.

There will also be a virtual viewing through the Canadian Space Agency’s website for those who do not want to chance being outside. The Health Unit has links on their website to activities for kids such as making a pinhole camera (also called a pinhole projector) that can be used to safely observe an eclipse. Light is allowed through a small punched hole, which then projects the incoming light onto the opposite end of the box.

For more information about eye safety and proper viewing devices during the eclipse, visit Total Solar Eclipse 2024 – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. If you require medical assistance because of a risk of exposure, call Ontario811 or visit a virtual care clinic.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News