Tense wait for Canadian eclipse chasers as 'partly cloudy' forecast settles over some U.S. vantage points
Saskatoon family worried weather could obscure eclipse after road trip to viewing site
For five years, Saskatoon woman Amy Templeman has been planning to get the best view of Monday's total solar eclipse. In the past few days, it has taken her thousands of kilometres across North America to Missouri.
Now, on the eve of the big astronomical event, the fate of her dream lies in the hands of another sky-gazer's obsession: the weather. The forecast where she is headed is "partly cloudy" and it is making her a little nervous.
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"It's just kind of nerve-wracking," she said.
"Kansas and Missouri, it's just like Saskatchewan, so if it's super hot there's going to be thundershowers and thunderheads building throughout the day. So even if there is a cloud forecast, stuff could come up and we might not be able to see it at all."
A trip 5 years in the making
Templeman and her partner Travis have been planning to watch the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse since they witnessed a partial solar eclipse at Lake Louise, Alta. in 2012.
Last week they set off on a road trip from B.C. to Missouri, passing through Idaho and Wyoming along the way. Their seven-month-old daughter Aurora, named for Templeman's love of the skies, is also going along for the ride.
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Templeman is one of hundreds of thousands of people travelling to a band of regions across the U.S. that's being called the "path of totality", where the moon will completely obscure the sunlight and turn the day to night.
For about 1,800 kilometres she's been seeing signs of the masses flocking to the best vantage points across the U.S.
Signs along the way
Tips on how to watch the eclipse have been posted at rest stops along the interstate and overhead signs warn motorists to turn on their headlights during the eclipse.
"We stopped in Idaho Falls, Idaho, for lunch on Friday and a kid, he was what 11, or 12? He was coming up to everybody in the park saying "do you have your solar eclipse glasses yet?" said Templeman.
"And he was going and selling them to people, so I guess it's a little money-making venture for him."
Templeman hopes the weather forecast will allow her and her family to watch the eclipse from the University of Missouri in Columbia, as planned, but she said they would travel elsewhere for a better vantage point depending on the weather.
She said she would be wearing approved safety glasses to protect her vision from serious damage that can occur from looking at the eclipse.
Viewing in Saskatoon
In Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan is inviting the public to view the eclipse at its campus observatory.
It said the partial phase would begin at 10:30 a.m. CST before the maximum eclipse occurs at 11:43 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will set up telescopes at London Drugs at Preston Avenue and 8 St. E.
The eclipse begins at 10:30 a.m. with 75 per cent of the sun covered by the moon at 11:46 a.m. At the Saskatchewan Science Centre, you can enjoy the spectacle with astronomers outside the Kramer IMAX Theatre.