Annular Solar Eclipse 2021

Early in the morning of June 10, 2021, viewers in Canada’s north will be treated to a spectacular sight–an annual solar eclipse. This once-in-a-lifetime event will provide viewers in Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec, and Nunavut with a chance to see the Sun become a “ring of fire” as the Moon passes in front of it. For those outside the “path of annularity”, the eclipse will still be visible as a partial solar eclipse across most of Canada, although you’ll have to set your alarm if you want to see it–it’ll be in progress as the Sun rises.

An annular eclipse as seen from Saudi Arabia in 2019. Like the 2021 eclipse in Canada, this one occurred shortly after sunrise.

What’s an “annular” eclipse?

Solar eclipses come in three main types: total, partial, and annular. In a total eclipse, the Moon blocks the entire visible surface of the Sun, dramatically revealing the Sun’s outer atmosphere. In a partial eclipse, the Moon only partially overlaps the Sun, so we see the Sun with a “notch” out of its side. An annular eclipse is similar to a total eclipse, but it occurs when the Moon is slightly closer to Earth in its orbit. As a result, the Moon appears slightly smaller and it does not fully cover the visible surface of the Sun. Instead, a thin ring of the solar surface is visible around the edge of the Moon. The term “annular” refers to this “ring” shape (an “annulus”).

Is it safe to look at a solar eclipse?

You should never look directly at the Sun without appropriate safety equipment, even during an eclipse. However, with a certified Eclipse Viewer, it’s safe to look at a solar eclipse for a few minutes at a time. Certified eclipse viewers work by blocking almost all of the light from the Sun, allowing only a tiny, safe amount through.

Never use binoculars, a telescope, a camera, or welder’s glass to look at a solar eclipse. Do not combine Eclipse Viewers with any other equipment. You can damage your camera–or your eyes!

Where can I get a safe Eclipse Viewer?

Dunlap Eclipse Viewer, created in partnership with Discover the Universe.

The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics was distributing Eclipse Viewers earlier this year, but we have now dispatched our entire supply.

You may still be able to purchase eclipse glasses from another source. The American Astronomical Society maintains a listing of vendors of safe eclipse glasses, including vendors in Canada. Just make sure that the glasses you’re ordering are safe, as there have been incidences of counterfeiting in the past.

When should I look for the eclipse?

The eclipse will be visible early in the morning on June 10, 2021. The exact timing depends on your location.

In Toronto, the eclipse will already be in progress when the Sun rises at 5:35 AM and will reach its maximum extent at 5:40 AM. It will end at 6:38 AM.

In Iqaluit, the eclipse will begin at 5:06 AM, reach the annular state at 6:06:30 AM, leave the annular state at 6:09:33 AM, and end at 7:13 AM.

The map below will give a sense of what fraction of the eclipse will be visible from different parts of the country. In all cases, the eclipse will only be visible at and shortly after sunrise. Set your alarm!

Map showing the visibility of the June 10, 2021 annular solar eclipse. The inset shows the portion of the eclipse that will be visible from within each coloured band. Only those in the shaded Path of Annularity will be able to see the fully annular “Ring of Fire” phenomenon. Click for a larger version.

To find the exact timing of the eclipse at your location, we recommend the excellent eclipse map on timeanddate.com. Click their map for detailed timings for any location, or search for your city in the search bar.

Eclipse Information Sheets

In partnership with our friends at Discover the Universe, we have produced information sheets about the eclipse and eclipse safety, available in a variety of languages: