The phrase "don't forget to look up" is going to have a different meaning on the morning of Thursday, June 10, when you'll be able to see a partial solar eclipse if you wake up early enough.
But when I say early, I mean very early. "A partial eclipse will be visible, weather permitting, between 5:07 (sunrise) and 6:39 a.m., reaching a maximum at 5:39 (78.9%)," according to Espace pour la vie.
The eclipse will become visible in the early morning hours shortly before sunrise in Montreal. Early birds will be treated to a celestial spectacle that will last approximately one hour and will see roughly 78% of the sun covered by the moon at its peak.
Espace pour la vie estimates that "the partial eclipse will reach its maximum at 5:39:10 [a.m.], with the Moon covering 78.9% of the Sun’s surface, which will stand only 7 degrees above the east-northeast horizon. The phenomenon will end at 6:38:58 [a.m]."
In an April 5 AccuWeather blog post, Dr. Gordon Telepun advised anyone hoping to get a good view of the 2024 total solar eclipse to avoid hosting parties.
"If you are lucky and the weather is predicted to be good at your house on eclipse day, that’s convenient for you, but if you have to travel away from your house for eclipse day, so be it," he wrote. "DO NOT plan a party at your house for eclipse day. You cannot be obligated to be a host or hostess at your house!"
"On eclipse day, your priority is to see the eclipse!"
Telepun, an Alabama-based plastic surgeon, eclipse chaser, photographer and creator of the Solar Eclipse Timer who has witnessed five eclipses from Zambia to Argentina, suggests eclipse-viewing is a more careful art than some might assume.
His advice could be especially useful for Montrealers who, in 2024, might be tempted to stay put to catch a glimpse of the celestial event, but will likely have a better experience if they're willing to take a bit of a drive.
Here's what you need to know about the solar eclipse crossing Quebec.
When is the solar eclipse happening?
The April 8, 2024 eclipse will cross North America beginning in the Mexican state of Sinaloa and continuing across the country to the state of Coahuila before crossing over Texas, the U.S. midwest, upstate New York, northern New England and southern Quebec.
It will then pass over Maine and the Atlantic provinces.
"In 2024 the Point of Greatest Eclipse is in Mexico," Dr. Telepun told MTL Blog.
That's the spot "where the axis of the Moon’s shadow passes closest to the center of the Earth," according to NASA.
"This is very close to where the maximum totality duration can be observed," which, for the 2024 eclipse is "about" four minutes and 28 seconds, Telepun explained.
But "as you move more northeast in the path the totality duration decreases," he continued.
How and where can Quebecers get the best eclipse views?
Telepun's advice: try to get out of Montreal.
"If you stay in the city of Montreal for the eclipse you accept a huge decrease in the totality duration because Montreal is located on the northern limit of the path," he said.
He explained that the eclipse centerline — or, according to EclipseWise.com, the "locus of points of intersection of the axis of the Moon's shadow with the surface of Earth" — will be southeast of Montreal near the border with the U.S.
"When 2024 comes around, those determined to see the eclipse might want to watch the forecasts a day or two ahead and 'discover' old friends who live in more promising locations to go to visit," he suggested.
"An eclipse is a striking and marvelous event, well worth the effort to see."
"The next central eclipse for Montreal, an annular eclipse, does not arrive until August 2093."