CBC Digital Archives

How to watch an eclipse

In 1609 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei unveiled his first telescope. To mark the occasion, the United Nations declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. It is a year "to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the universe through the day and nighttime sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery." The CBC Digital Archives looks at Canadian contributors to astronomy and our own trip through the cosmos.

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In 1979, Canadian stargazers are able to witness a total eclipse of the sun. In this interview from CBC's Take 30, Harry Brown talks with Helen Sawyer Hogg, professor emeritus astronomy at the University of Toronto. She tells us how an eclipse occurs, its characteristics and the safest way to view it.
• Helen Sawyer Hogg lived from 1905 to 1993. As an astronomer, she was best known for her work on globular clusters (spherical groups of stars). As a writer, she was best remembered for her weekly newspaper column in the Toronto Star called With the Stars, which ran for 30 years.

• Born in Lowell, Mass., Sawyer married fellow astronomer Frank Hogg in 1930. He got a job at the Dominion Observatory in Victoria, where the couple relocated. Helen Hogg worked by her husband's side as a volunteer while doing her own work using the observatory's 72-inch (1.8-metre) telescope.

• The solar eclipse discussed in this interview occurred over North America on Feb. 26, 1979. Due to good weather conditions, Brandon, Man. was the best location to see it.

• A list of all eclipses in the 21st century can be found on Wikipedia.

Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Feb. 19, 1979
Guest(s): Helen Hogg
Interviewer: Harry Brown
Duration: 8:53

Last updated: April 15, 2014

Page consulted on April 15, 2014

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